- Vows to tackle medical tourism
- We invested $11m into the project, says NSIA
As part of efforts to address issues around lack of treatment facilities for cancer across Nigeria, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has inspected the ongoing installation of three new cancer machines at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos.
This is even as he vowed to tackle treatment and management of cancers abroad through the establishment of other cancer treatment centres in other geo-political regions of the country.
Adewole who stated this while addressing newsmen at the installation, said the investment in cancer treatment will ensure more Nigerians with the ailment are taken care off with state of the art facilities and personnel.
Adewole said: “The main purpose of investing in this cancer treatment centre is to treat more people in the country, rather than them travelling out for treatment, which is even the more expensive.
“Also, the best place to treat patients is when they are among their people and seeing their relations every day. So, we are trying to achieve that and save the citizens’ money because it will be cheaper than travelling outside.
“Three modalities for cancer treatment are chemotherapy, radiation and surgery because most cancer cases are always presented late, and that is what this centre will offer. Improving awareness on cancer treatment will make people come early for treatment and reduce late presentation of cancer cases.”
While stating that there was also plan to replicate the feat in many health institutions across the country, he also addressed issues around incessant breakdown of cancer machines across the country, saying the new machines installed in LUTH will be managed properly.
“LUTH has a first class of Biomedical Centre which we planned to support other centres. I know LUTH will manage the machine properly which means abandoned and broken equipment will be a thing of the past. There will also be long-term maintenance contract that will enable us to manage the cancer machine effectively.
“The cancer treatment centre is almost ready, so by February, this centre will start operation fully for the benefits of the patients. We are eager to deliver on our promise to Nigerians.
“Just last Tuesday, we flagged off the basic healthcare provision fund, which is a way of addressing issues around universal health coverage in the country.
“We will also be providing some free basic services to the people such as immunisation services, delivery services, tuberculosis services, checking of blood pressure, urine test and treatment of under-five children,” he explained.
He said through the BHCPF, the federal government will also be partnering with state governments by making sure that they state provide infrastructure, while the federal government provides money to maintain them, noting that the major aim was to ensure people have access to quality healthcare in 2019.
On his part, the Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, said that the aim was to establish a world-class cancer treatment centre in the hospital which would help to reduce medical tourism as well as meet the needs of persons living with cancer across the country.
Bode said: “We are really looking forward to the inauguration of the cancer treatment centre because many Nigerians will benefit from it. When our machines were working properly, a lot of people came from different states for treatment here.
“We already have the manpower, that is enough experts for cancer treatment, but we are trying to also retrain our experts on how to maintain and use the machine properly.
“I want people to know that healthcare is evitable to invest in, so I am calling on people to invest more in the healthcare system in the country.”
Also speaking, Healthcare Investment Adviser, Nigeria Survey Investment Authority, Kanyinsola Oyeyinka, who represented the managing director of the body, said the project was an NSIA funded project, and that they have committed $11 million to it.
She said: “We have all the collaborations from the Federal Ministry of Health and all our private sector partners to deliver this laudable project. In no time we will call on everyone again for the commissioning.”