Cancer: House to make diagnosis, treatment easier – Speaker Abbas

It will guarantee greater investments in cancer care infrastructure and provide a framework for establishing and strengthening comprehensive cancer treatment centres across the country.

By Deborah Hassan

365Daily – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, has described cancer as one of the biggest health challenges on the African continent, saying the 10th House would legislate on making cancer diagnosis and treatment easier and cheaper for Nigerians.

This is just as he listed lack of infrastructure, inadequate personnel, late diagnosis, and high cost of treatment as part of the factors frustrating early detection and treatment of cancer in Africa.

A statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Musa Abdullahi Kirshi, on Thursday, May 26, 2024, disclosed that Speaker Abbas, who made this known at the seminar for the First Ladies from member countries of the Africa Group of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Abuja.

He said Speaker noted that the gathering, which was focused on the crucial issue of cancer, stood as a testament to the collective commitment of the nations to combat the devastating disease.

“As representatives of the people, we in the 10th House of Representatives recognise our role in the fight against cancer. The House will work with the First Lady, Her Excellency, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, to enact a National Cancer Act to reduce cancer mortality through comprehensive measures, including the promotion of cancer screening, early diagnosis, treatment advancements, and palliative care.

“It will also guarantee greater investments in cancer care infrastructure and provide a framework for establishing and strengthening comprehensive cancer treatment centres across the country. A critical aspect of the proposed legislation will be a Cancer Drugs Fund to ensure that more patients benefit from cutting-edge treatments.”

Noting that, “Cancer remains one of our most formidable health challenges, particularly in Africa,” Speaker Abbas said limited healthcare infrastructure, shortage of medical professionals, and insufficient diagnostic and treatment facilities were among major contributors to late diagnoses and inadequate care among cancer patients.

“Financial barriers, such as the high cost of treatment and lack of health insurance, exacerbate the situation, leaving many unable to afford necessary care.

“Additionally, low awareness and educational gaps about cancer prevention and early detection further hinder timely intervention. The combination of these factors results in high mortality rates and diminished quality of life, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address cancer,” he stated.

Tajudeen added that the Nigerian Government has made several efforts to combat cancer and alleviate the challenges faced by individuals living with the disease.

These, he added, included the Act establishing the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT), the National Strategic Cancer Control Plan 2023-2027.

He stated that the efforts also included increased funding for cancer treatment centres, greater public awareness and partnerships with international organisations.

“Despite these measures, significant gaps remain, particularly in reaching the poorest and most vulnerable populations, highlighting the ongoing need for sustained investment and comprehensive policy implementation,” he stressed.

Speaker Abbas commended the First Lady of Nigeria, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, for convening and hosting the “important seminar,” saying that her tireless efforts and unwavering dedication to the health and well-being of Nigerian citizens, particularly the vulnerable, are truly commendable.

By uniting the First Ladies of OIC member countries, the Speaker said, the First Lady has created a platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and strategic action against cancer.

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