FG to upgrade seven cancer centres, provide more treatment machines

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According to reports, the Federal Government says it will upgrade seven cancer treatment centres and provide additional machines to reduce the burden of the disease in Nigeria.

Nigeria's Minister of Health Isaac Folorunso Adewole attends an emergency National Council on Health meeting on the control of Lassa Fever in Abuja, Nigeria January 19, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde - RTX231AG

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.

Adewole said: “As we are talking today, there is no public hospital that has cancer treatment machine that is working.

“Ideally, we need one machine per one million people; going by our population, Nigeria should have about 200 cancer treatment machines.

“We have seven machines but none of the seven machines is working today.”

According to Adewole, the Federal Government will ensure that each of the seven centres has two machines, “which means one will be a backup in the 2017 budget”.

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He said government would upgrade the cancer treatment centres in Maiduguri, Zaria, Ilorin, National Hospital, Ibadan, Benin and Enugu in the first phase of the programme.

The minister said government would get a private sector organisation to help with the

National Hospital, Abuja, disclosing: “In fact we may sign the Memorandum of Understanding this month.

“If we take National Hospital out, we will upgrade the Sokoto centre and Gombe is also waiting, while Jos will be in the second round.”

Adewole said government was committed to making sure that Nigeria has the facilities.

The minister said that the burden of cancer is of concern to the present administration, adding that the ministry would revise the National Cancer Plan for effective response.

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He added that the ministry would constitute a national cancer steering committee to be chaired by him.

He described cancer as one of the major problems in the country, noting that “the problem is increasing as we grow older”.

According to Adewole, more people will have cancer, because as we grow older, those divisions that take place in our system grow abnormal.

He said: “We are working with the media to increase awareness on cancer; with increase awareness many of those early signs of cancer will make people to go to hospital and get treatment.

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“Most cancer can be treated is presented early, but people don’t come for treatment early.

“Fortunately we now know what causes cervical cancer. There is a vaccine now that prevent the disease and we are working to make the vaccine available.”

Adewole added that the ministry was training more people on the detection of cancer of the cervix.

Adewole advised Nigerians to be careful with the way they handle genetically modified foods, stressing that there are a lot of misconceptions and myths about cancer.

Adewole noted: “We do not have accurate knowledge as to what causes cancer.”

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