By Muhammad Amaan
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has partnered with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Foundation to provide free cancer screening to Nigerians.
The two-day exercise, which began at the Federal Medical Centre in Abuja, is targeted at the early detection of breast and cervical cancers in women and prostate cancer in men.
The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, said at the opening that there were many benefits from early detection.
Represented by the Director of Hospital Services, Dr Salaudeen Jimoh, the minister said when cancers are detected early, outcomes are better.”
“Also, for those who will be found positive for any of the cancers that will be screened for, the Cancer Health Fund (CHF) will provide free treatment for them; therefore, there is no need to panic,” he said.
Prof. Pate clarified that the fund consisted of funds set aside by the Federal Government to treat the three cancers, adding that the funds were for the treatment of all Nigerians who had any of the cancers.
The minister commended the foundation for sponsoring the screening, adding that the initiative would go a long way in the fight to control cancer in Nigeria.
He also announced the donation of a mobile cancer screening van to the hospital by the ministry, with all complementary equipment attached, to aid in the early detection of the three cancers.
On her part, the Managing Director of the NNPCL Foundation, Mrs. Emmanuella Arukwe, said cancer is a very deadly disease, and knowing one’s status is very important as that would aid in getting treatment early.
She said that the foundation, which was the social initiative arm of the company, decided to embark on the project because cancer is one of the scourges the nation is suffering from.
“It is our pilot project, and we will do other things.
“A lot of people have already done their tests, and we are expecting at least 100 people to do the tests, and the good thing is that the ministry has the funds to treat anyone who tests positive for any of the cancers.
“We know there is a healthcare gap in Nigeria, and we are doing this as one of our projects to help bridge the gap,” she added.