Group Laments Nigeria’s Poor Contribution to Cancer Research

Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

A non-governmental organisation, Project Pink Blue (PPB), yesterday lamented the poor contribution of Nigerian scholars to cancer research in Africa despite its records of 120,000 cases and 72,000 deaths annually.

The Executive Director of PPB, Runcie Chidebe expressed the concern alongside its Programme Coordinator, Ms Gloria Okwu at a news conference at the National Hospital, Abuja recently.

At the conference, Chidebe said: “Of the 23,679 cancer research papers published in different peer-reviewed journals by African scientists and academic over a 12-year period, only 5,281 were from sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria’s contribution were only 997.

“Contributions from Nigerians only represent 19 percent of the sub-Saharan Africa total and 4 percent of entire Africa. Clearly, Nigeria contributed only 19 percent of the entire cancer research in sub-Saharan Africa and only 4 percent of the cancer research in Africa.

“As a patient-oriented organisation, Project PINK BLUE understands that cancer research is crucial to improve the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of all forms of cancer, and ensures that cancer survivors live longer with better quality of life.

“Research also helps identify the causes of cancer, highlights improved methods of diagnosis and treatment, and effectively utilises the possibilities of international best practices. Based on this data and other evidence.

 “We hope to stimulate learning and encourage research through capacity building among oncology professionals. It is our belief that oncology research by Nigerians, for Nigerians will provide home grown results for better treatment outcomes.” She said

He explained the importance of the training, saying the training covered the following topics: types of research, research in oncology, how to publish your research in journals, understanding academic writing, implementing research and the relevance of research in the oncology space.

Also, at the conference, Okwu said: “For a country with over 200 million people with 120,000 cancer cases and 72,000 deaths, Nigeria’s contribution to cancer research is poor and does not reflect any progress.

“This is the highest cancer burden in the whole of Africa. Poor cancer research in Nigeria could be responsible for poor cancer management including the rising cancer deaths,” she said.

She said PPB “has trained 80 Oncologists and 50 Pathologists. This programme has been ongoing since 2018, as our support to the federal government’s National Cancer Control Plan (2018-2022).

“In 2018, Project PINK BLUE brought two US Fulbright specialists to train 44 clinical oncologists from different facilities across Nigeria in medical oncology with a focus on leukaemia, breast, prostate and childhood cancers.

“In 2021, 36 oncology pharmacists were drawn from 24 facilities across Nigeria and were trained by two US Fulbright specialists in chemotherapy reconstitution, handling and patient counselling.

“This year, 50 pathologists will be trained by US Fulbright Specialists to support accuracy in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and management.

“To achieve the overall objective of upgrade oncology, Project PINK BLUE conducts an annual training alongside the major programme for health workers drawn from primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions on different aspects of cancer management.

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