The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole; the President of BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) and other dignitaries at launch of the Nigerian National Cancer Plan in Abuja.

By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
 

The Federal Government and a United States based BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) are conducting needs assessment on about 15 hospitals across the six geopolitical zones of the country on cancer treatment.

 This was disclosed on Thursday by the President of BVGH, Ms. Jennifer Dent, while being interviewed by ARISE News International shortly after the second THISDAY Healthcare Dialogue. 

According to Dent, the partnership programme which is part of the African Access  Initiative (AAI) aims to ensure access to affordable and sustainable cancer medicines and treatment in Nigeria.

She said the needs assessment which was initiated June 2017 in 15 hospitals was to determine what their priorities are towards improving cancer treatment.

To this end, she said the BVGH has concluded the assessment of eight out of the 15 hospitals and subsequently submitted their findings to the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole two weeks ago. 

She said: “The Minister of Health (Prof. Adewole) being an oncologist wants access to affordable cancer medicines and treatment in Nigeria. With our African Assessment Initiative launched in June last year, which is 10 months ago, we have about 15 hospitals where we are conducting needs assessment on what their priorities are and have concluded in eight of those hospitals. 

“We are looking at the gaps on what types of drugs and equipment that will be needed. We have also agreed with the Ministry of Health on the needs assessment to match with their priorities on cancer treatment programme.” 

Speaking further, Dent said one of the key areas discovered in the needs assessment was that oncologists want more training on cancer treatment.  To this, she said that BVGH was to build pathology laboratory capacity, human capacity as well as provide fellowships and coordinate training for oncologists and healthcare practitioners. 

She also disclosed that the not for profit organisation had already shipped matching drugs and equipment to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Ondo State, after completion of the needs assessment in the hospital.   

“We have shipped laboratory equipment, which hopefully will be released by the Customs next week,” she said.

Dent stressed that the companies they were working with was “committed to ensure that the drugs and equipment they were making available to Nigeria were affordable and safer”.

She said that BVGH was also working in four other African Countries including Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Rwanda and Kenya.