Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
As part of efforts to fight cancer in Nigeria, project PINK BLUE, a cancer awareness foundation in collaboration with US mission in Nigeria, has commenced training of 44 selected oncologists across the country on effective cancer treatment.
The two weeks medical oncology training is part of the Upgrade Oncology initiative focused on strengthening oncology education, medical oncology curriculum, oncology infrastructures and cancer treatment in Nigeria.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the training at the African University of Science and Technology, (ASUT) Abuja, the Executive Director, Project PINK BLUE, Mr. Runcie Chidebe, informed that the training is a platform for Nigerian oncologists to exchange practices with US based oncologists to save increasing number of patients dying from preventable cancer deaths.
Chidebe also noted that Nigeria has less than 50 medical oncologists which is very poor for a country that should have thousands. He called on the federal government to look into the issue as it affects cancer treatments.
“We have selected 44 oncologists from across Nigeria to train in Abuja and Lagos. The training will be led by two American medical oncologists, Dr. Tracey O’Connor MD, a medical oncologist and associate professor at Rosswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA, and Dr. Mike Martin MD, medical oncologist and associate professor of Medicine at University of Tennessee, West Cancer Center.
“The project is led by Dr. M.O. Nwaneri MD, a medical oncologist/associate professor, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine,” he said.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole while noting that Upgrade Oncology will complement government’s effort emphasized the need for training.
He said “if we want better oncology care, we must provide the professionals with better oncology training. I strongly believe that the Nigerian oncologists will interact with the US based oncologists, share ideas and exchange international best practices for better care for cancer patients in Nigeria”.
Acting Cultural Affairs Officer, US Mission, Ms. Mafia Heroux, said the US government cares deeply about strengthening the Nigerian public health system.
She lauded the knowledge exchange initiative, saying it has the potential to transform cancer treatment in Nigeria.