Wife of Kebbi State governor and founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF), Dr Zainab Bagudu, has urged the government to develop policies that will benefit cancer patients in the country.
Bagudu stated this during the annual “Walkaway Cancer Walk” organized by Medicaid Cancer Foundation in Abuja.
The walk is organized annually to raise awareness and draw attention of policy makers, the government, NGOs, corporate institutions, cancer ambassadors and the general public to the prevalent situation of cancer care delivery, policies, infrastructure deficits and provision of vaccines in addressing preventable cancers in Nigeria and across Africa.
Mrs Bagudu also said that this year, they have been able to start up a fund of N50million to be co-managed by Medicaid Cancer Foundation and the Nigerian Cancer Society which is the overall cancer body in Nigeria.
She said the aim is to support cancer patients as well as support scientists for research that can enable the country to have more tailored medicines for cancer patients.
“When you talk about cervical cancer, cervical cancer is something that can be eliminated through vaccination, regular screening, early detection and treatment but unfortunately, we don’t have the vaccines here, we are calling on government, we are calling on donor partners so that they can provide vaccination for our girls and help to eliminate cervical cancer,” she said.
The president, Nigerian Cancer Society, Dr. Alhassan Adamu, identified funding as the major challenge in cancer advocacy space in the country.
However, he said with Universal Health Coverage, all the challenges can be harnessed if the country is sure that cancer will be adequately treated under the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
Also, he said with early awareness, when more patients are coming for early detection, he will open room for early diagnosis so that cancer can be treated at a very early stage.
A cancer survivor, Mrs Gloria Orji, said, “We have a challenge whereby people feel that instead of spending money for a cancer patient, it is better they save the money for the person’s burial. We should start giving cancer patients a chance to live, we should start encouraging them.”
Orji, who is the president, Network of People Impacted by Cancer in Nigeria (NEPICIN), commended the government for the recent cancer fund for indigent Nigerians while calling for more support.