Plans are in the pipeline for the federal government to procure additional eight cancer screening machines in a bid to reducing the menace of the scourge in the country.
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, made this known on Tuesday evening in Abuja while playing host to officials and members of the Medical And Dental Consultantsâ€™ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) led by its President, Professor Ngim E. Ngim, when they paid him a courtesy visit.
Adewole said a minimum of eight cancer screening equipment would be bought, one for each of the six geo-political zones in the country, one for the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and another one for the National Hospital, Abuja.
The Health Minister also said most of the cancer screening equipment in all the teaching hospitals across the country would be refurbished pending the arrival of the new ones.
â€œTreatment for cancer is expensive; we know how much our people pay even in Ghana to treat the disease. Those who can pay, we should allow them to pay, while we can also take care of the poor. We are partnering the Sovereign Wealth Fund office to acquire more cancer fighting equipment for our hospitals across the country.
â€œThe Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is also ready to support us to have one of those machines in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and another one in Port Harcourt. In fact, we may get about 10,â€ he stated.
The minister frowned at the attitude of some consultants whom he alleged hardly do any work in the hospitals nowadays as they have delegated responsibilities to Resident Doctors, adding that there are consultants who do not carry out any surgical operation in a year.
Professor Adewole also said any strike by resident doctors should not necessarily lead to the closure of a teaching hospital, as he called on consultants to rise to the occasion and carry out skeletal services.
He called on the consultants to take a second look at the knowledge being impacted on resident doctors now in order to improve the overall health care delivery programme in the country.
While Adewole asked the consultants to show understanding as the allocations coming to the Health Ministry from the federal government is not enough to tackle the challenges facing the health sector, he called on the consultants and chief medical directors of teaching hospitals across the country to effectively utilise their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for their capital projects.
Earlier in his address, Professor Ngim praised the minister for the prompt response the ministry now gives to incidences of epidemic outbreaks in the country as well as his efforts to bring the health closer to the people through the establishment of more primary health care centres in the country.
He called on the minister to intervene in resolving all court cases in the health sector, particularly those involving pathologists and other allied health workers.
Ngim also implored the minister to take a look at the retirement age of consultants in the country currently pegged at 60, pointing out that there is the need for the system to maximise the experiences of these senior specialist doctors by increasing their retirement age to 65 years.