The Federal government has declared cancer a priority project in the health sector and initiated a planning process that would culminate in the transformation of the National Cancer Control Programme, NCCP, into a National Agency.
Disclosing this in Abuja, during the commemoration of the 2016 World Cancer Day, Minister of the Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole said the National Agency for Cancer Control would be a multidisciplinary centre involving all health care personnel, basic and social scientists including public health experts, to provide leadership and technical direction for cancer control in the country.
He said the Agency would focus on policy formulation, advocacy and mobilization, Center of excellence for cancer prevention and care and Palliation.
“The Agency would drive a comprehensive cancer treatment, including palliative care, research and teaching whilst paying attention to the needs of the individual cancer patient.’’ he said.
Further, the Minister explained that the pivot of the cancer control would be health promotion and prevention from primary healthcare level, to achieve this, the ministry is working on strengthening primary healthcare system across the nation including building a formidable workforce To provide essential outreach services that will include health promotion, he said the “One PHC Per Ward Initiative” would also link up with secondary and tertiary care through strong referral systems.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Enahire Osagie, noted that over 60 percent of all cancer cases in Nigeria occur in women and are mainly due to breast and cervical cancers.
Osagie said the key barriers to treatment of cancer in Nigeria include competing priorities for government attention, low number of skilled health care personnel, funding gaps, poor infrastructure and lack of awareness.
“Government plans to overcome these key challenges include the development of Public Private Partnerships strategies to address the funding gaps and manpower shortage”, he said.
In his welcome address, the Executive Director, Project Pink Blue, Runcie Chidebe, said the World Cancer Day 2016 marks the beginning of a new three – year campaign with the theme “We Can, I Can” that would explore how everyone as an individual or collectively would do to reduce the global burden of cancer.
By: Victoria Ojeme
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