Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire has said the federal government is worried by the alarming spread of cancer, and the fact that it now affects people in all age brackets.
The minister, who expressed this concern at the strategic stakeholders engagement for the Pharmaceutical group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (P-MAN) in Abuja recently, said the ministry will welcome all constructive initiatives that will assist its efforts to curb the rage of cancer among Nigerians by ensuring easy access to cancer drugs, both in terms of cost and availability.
At the engagement organised by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS),
Ehanire said he awaits the development of modalities that will help the country expand access to cancer drugs.
“This government is worried by the alarming spread of cancer, and the fact that it now traumatises people in all age brackets. Perhaps the seriousness of the cancer scourge is better imagined when it is viewed from the other dimensions of its social and economic consequences,” he said.
The minister commended NHIS for embarking on the recent rapid appraisals and bridge building process as part of its ongoing reforms under the new leadership of Professor Mohammed Nasir Sambo as Executive Secretary.
He said the inter-agency collaborations, as well as public-private-partnership initiatives will help create capacities and enhance availability of resources in the healthcare delivery system.
Earlier, Sambo said theme of this meeting “Making Quality Drugs Accessible and Affordable for the Attainment of Universal Health Coverage” was one that was very timely and critical to the country’s development.
According to Sambo, rising cost of drugs for treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases has become a global phenomenon.
“The tragedy of this development takes more on the sub-Saharan continent of Africa. In order to attain the Universal Health Coverage, therefore, the rising cost of drugs must be contained by putting in place cost-containment strategies to ensure that drugs are not only available but accessible and affordable as well,” he said.