Cancer: Osinbajo urges medical practitioners to increase awareness of possible warning signs
The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has urged Nigerians to modify their lifestyles to avoid cancer disease.
He made the call at the inauguration of the second Linear Accelerator Radiotherapy machine at National Hospital, Abuja, on Friday.
The machine was donated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo).
A medical linear accelerator (LINAC) is a device commonly used for external beam radiation treatment on cancer patients.
The device delivers high-energy x-ray or electrons to the patient’s tumour region.
The Vice President, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr Abdulaziz Mashi,
said that early detection of cancer would greatly increase chances for successful treatment.
He, however, urged Nigerians to take note of the two major components of early detection of cancer, namely
education to promote early diagnosis and screening.
Osinbajo said that recognising possible warning signs of cancer and taking prompt action would lead to early diagnosis.
He urged medical practitioners to increase awareness of possible warning signs of the ailment for the public to take note and to observe.
The Vice President said that a recent report revealed that Nigeria records 102,000 new cases of cancer annually, with
72,000 deaths from the number.
He described as worrisome, the lack of adequate equipment and facilities for cancer treatment in the country,
which he said was due to the lack of resources.
According to him, the linear accelerator radiotherapy machine donated by NNPC and SNEPCo to National Hospital Abuja will bridge the gap in no small measure.
He noted that with the giant stride made, it was important to build the skill of health workers toward operating
and maintaining the machine.
The Representative of the Ministry of Health, Dr Joe Amedu, the Director, Hospital Services, said poor health seeking behaviour of Nigerians was also a challenge to early detection of the disease.
Amedu said “this donated equipment is not just an ultra modern cancer-treatment equipment, it is a complete unit in the cancer centre that can boast of high quality.”
He said that the linear radiotherapy machine would assist in cancer prevention in the country and assured Federal Government’s commitment toward addressing the scourge through early presentation of cases.
He urged stakeholders and other sectors to support the fight against cancer in the country.
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, while calling on the International Oil Company (IOC), and the oil sector in the country to invest in health, education and manpower development in the country,
also urged them to assist Nigeria’s medical practitioners locally and internationally.
Kyari, who was represented by NNPC Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, said the
corporation would continue to partner Ministry of Health to improve the capacity of the hospital services in the
prevention and treatment of cancer.
The Managing Director of SNEPCo, Mr Bayo Ojulari, said that the intervention was part of SNEPCo’s social investment programmes in health, education and sports.
Ojulari said cancer is a public health issue affecting large number of Nigeria’s population, while the nation has limited resources to manage reported cases.
He added that “in response to this, among other healthcare delivery challenges, SNPEPCo and NNPC organised a multi-stakeholder workshop involving government, academia and health development bodies in 2016, through National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS)”.
“This includes international and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), to identify gaps and recommend
opportunities for partnership with government in healthcare delivery,” he said.
The SNPEPCo boss said that the radiotherapy machine is the first of its kind in the country, noting that “I am not a
medical doctor or an oncologist, but I understand that the NNPC and SNPEPCo intervention will change the story
of cancer diagnosis and treatment in Nigeria for good.”
He noted that the donated equipment would offer unique radiation therapy technique that would accurately shape
the radiation dose to tumour, with little or no adverse effect surrounding the organs.
He disclosed that the skill of the healthcare workers that would operate and maintain the machine had been built and ready to work. (NAN)