Written by Williams ABAH

At summit, experts advocate for more cancer funding

The fight against cancer in Nigeria, have taken another dimension as experts converged in Abuja and called for more funding in the country.

The key speaker, Senior Health Specialist, International Finance Corporation IFC of the World Bank Group, Dr.Olumide Okunola, in his presentation titled, ‘Funding Cancer in Nigeria: The Way Forward’’, advocated that government should redouble its efforts in looking for special fund for oncology which constitutes the highest causes of medical tourism.

“We need to recognize and emphasize on public financing, Nigeria is spending the lowest in public health financing, per capita expenditure, and we need to upscale it.”

He however expressed the worry that the consequences of cancer affliction in Nigeria was worse among poor rural dwellers calling on the government to take more pragmatic approach towards stemming the tide of cancer scourge in the country.

Okunola called on the government to dedicate funds accruing from the federation account, tax on alcohol and tobacco,  lifestyle taxes, seized loots, etc. towards funding catastrophic health challenges.

In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, expressed the commitment and determination of government to mitigate the incidence of cancer in the country, adding that in the next six months government would deploy 8 to 12 new machines for oncology.

He disclosed that government was working on 8 designated cancer treatment centers nationwide while focusing on 2 centers before the end of this year; these are: the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, and the National Hospital Abuja.

Also speaking, the wife of the vice president, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, noted that though government had made some remarkable progress in the war against cancer,  more hands needed to be on deck to tackle the issue headlong; stressing that treatment and care for cancer patients was critical.

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