Project Pink Blue (PPB), a non-governmental organisation, has appealed to the Federal Government to do everything to gazette the National Cancer Act in order to put the document into operation.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, Mr Runcie Chidebe, made the call on Saturday in Abuja during a road walk to mark the 2023 World Cancer Day, with the theme “Close the Care Gap”.
Represented by Mrs Gloria Okwu, the Programme Coordinator for PPB, Chidebe stated that the National
Cancer Act had been in existence for several years but had yet to be put into proper use.
He said that the act which gave room for the establishment of the National Cancer Research Institute had yet to be gazetted and put into proper use.
According to him, if the act is put into proper use, it will bring together all cancer efforts such as its management in terms of treatment, diagnosis and research findings.
“This act is not in operational for now, maybe when we begin to streamline its operations, every effort will be pointing towards greater impact. We are asking the government to gazette the act.
“We are also asking the government to fund research on this ailment; researchers can carry out research on the cancer drugs Nigerians use.
“We are using drugs tested abroad here in Nigeria and there is very little research here, we need it to know what is causing cancer here and the kind of drugs we should use,” he stressed.
Chidebe also called on government to take action on eliminating cervical cancer, pointing out that there is a vaccine for it in the country.
He said the NGO wanted the government to make the cervical cancer vaccine accessible and affordable so that people could vaccinate their children.
Speaking in her personal capacity, Okwu said that the five-kilometre walk was meant to create awareness about cancer for people within the Abuja environs.
She added that the road walk was also to create awareness about the free cancer screening, blood pressure and blood sugar screening which the association, along with her other partner, was willing to offer Nigerians.
Mrs Gloria Nwajiogwu, President, Network of People Impacted by Cancer in Nigeria, called on the government to replace doctors who had left the country.
According to her, the available medical doctors in the country medical facilities are already overwhelmed as the bulk of their colleagues had left the shores of Nigeria because of the better welfare packages they get abroad.
Nwajiogwu noted that because Nigeria bore a very high burden of cancer, there was need for the government to close the cancer gab by bringing in more doctors and nurses.
She said that cancer patients in Nigeria were all struggling to survive with the disease, adding that the situation was different in the developed countries.
“In Nigeria, patients are struggling to live, doctors are trying their best and we really need to do more in awareness. We need to bring in more doctors, more medical professionals.
“As cancer patients are dying in droves, cancer treatment is supposed to go seamlessly, but with the few number of doctors treating cancer, we are not getting the required outcome.
“We are also asking all stakeholders in the health sector including the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to do a lot more for cancer patients; we want to live, we want to enjoy with our families ,” she stressed.
She called on the government to fast track the operational usage of cancer fund, saying that a lot has not been achieved in that direction. (NAN