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FG intensifies fight against cancer – Health Minister

by Haruna Gimba
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By Iyemah David

The Federal Government of Nigeria has intensified the fight against growing threat of cancer in the country.

Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa, said this at a one-day workshop organised by the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT) in Abuja.

The workshop, with “Improving Access to Cancer Care in Nigeria” as its theme, was organised in collaboration with Siemens Healthineers.

It is aimed at fostering collaboration between public and private sectors to enhance cancer care outcomes in Nigeria.

Alausa underscored the ministry’s commitment, through NICRAT, to revolutionise cancer care by intensifying awareness and facilitating access to treatment and research.

He hailed the partnership with Siemens as pivotal step toward a future devoid of cancer, citing initiatives geared toward expanding the pool of cancer experts through training, fortifying the administration of the cancer health fund, and upgrading cancer treatment and diagnosis centres.

Moreover, he said, strategic alliances with international entities like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were aimed at enhancing capacity building for cancer care across Nigeria.

He said the workshop was a platform to address challenges in cancer care and foster collaborative efforts.

The Special Adviser to the President on Health, Dr Salma Ibrahim-Anas, said “the workshop provides a platform for the country to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and forge new alliances that will drive progress in the field of cancer care.”

She added that through collaborative initiatives, the country could leverage the expertise, resources, and technology of donor partners to facilitate access to high-quality care, promote early detection, and enhance care.

She called for the involvement of community leaders into the cancer fight in the country.

Dr Kevin Massoudi, the Healthineers Vice President and Head of Public Sector Engagement at Siemens, commended government’s proactive approach in modernising cancer care centres.

Massoudi underscored government’s emphasis on sustainable access and community engagement in combating this daunting public health crisis.

The workshop also witnessed insights from prominent figures such as the Wife of former Governor of Kebbi, Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, who underlined the critical role of radiotherapy in cancer treatment.

She also called for increased treatment centres in Nigeria.

Director-General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Professor Ahmed Aminu, the reiterated the agency’s collaboration with Nigeria in identifying cancer care needs and securing essential support.

Prof. Aminu underscored the importance of addressing challenges faced by institutions like the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment and highlighted successful virtual training programmes aimed at enhancing healthcare professionals’ skills.

The Director-General of NICRAT, Professor Usman Aliyu, underscored comprehensive approach to cancer care which encompassed awareness, prevention, screening, treatment and research.

He stressed the need for unified efforts and strategic partnerships to make substantial impact on cancer care and control in the country.

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