Author: victory

Health minister, Durosinmi-Etti, Ajimobi advocate lifestyle change to reduce cancer scourge …FG working towards reducing cost of treatment

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole; Radiotherapy and Cancer Specialists, Prof. Abayomi Durosinmi-Etti; Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and others have advised against carefree habit and lifestyle that promote risk factors to cancer diseases. They gave the advice in separate addresses at the launch of the Oyo State five-year cancer control strategic plan, spanning five years (January 2018 to December 2022), in Ibadan, on Tuesday.

Wife of the state governor and founder of Access to Basic Medical Care Foundation, Chief Florence Ajimobi, who was the initiator of the project, as well as the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adedutan, said that the strategic plan was aimed at reducing cancer-related incidence and mortality.

In their goodwill messages, Wife of Niger State Governor, Dr. Amina Bello; Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Prof. Temitope Alonge; and representative of wife of Kwara State governor, Mr. Lanre Bello, harped on early detection and preventive measures to reduce the cancer scourge.

The minister lauded the state government and ABC Foundation for setting the pace for other states in the country with the cancer control strategic plan, an initiative he said Oyo State pioneered in the country. Adewole, who rued what he called the low level of information and awareness on the debilitating effect of the disease across the country, said that the Federal Government was working hard to cause a significant reduction in the cost of cancer treatment. Although he put the cost at conservatively $2,000 (N734,000) currently in the country, he said it was still a far cry to the $10,000 (N3.7m) it cost to treat cancer in neighbouring Ghana. He said that the FG would have loved to establish more cancer treatment centres across the country, in spite of the prohibitive cost, but was being hampered by competing demands of other life-threatening diseases such as heart diseases, hypertension, kidney failure, cirrhosis, among others.

The minister said, “This is the first time in the history of cancer in Nigeria that a state will make a strategic plan on it. We now know that 40 per cent of cancer can be prevented if we change our habits and lifestyle, while 40 per cent can be cured if detected early. “In nearby Ghana, it cost $10,000 to treat cancer while it cost $2,000 to treat the same disease in Nigeria. But, even at that amount, it is still expensive for our people. We are working hard to make the treatment affordable. “It is also advisable to localize this cancer plan, as this will be strategic to its success. Involvement of the local government administrations and other health platforms like the Primary Health Care should be integrated into the programme.”
In his keynote, Durosinmi-Etti, who was the pioneer chief medical director of the National Hospital, Abuja, identified smoking, excessive alcohol intake, albinos’ exposure to sun and excessive body weight as some of the habits and lifestyles that promote cancer. He said, “We need to pay attention to the spread of cancer in Nigeria in order to bring it to a near zero level. From research, we discovered that breast and cervical cancer account for 50 per cent of female mortality. “Apart from Gombe, Ibadan is the only state in Nigeria with facilities to treat cancer and this call for absolute readiness to campaign for prevention rather than treatment. 33 per cent cure is sure with prevention and early detection. “But, if people will just be careful about their habits and lifestyles, such as smoking, excessive drinking, exposure to paint and asbestos chemicals, excessive weight and obesity, as well as exposure to the sun in the case of albinos, there will be a significant reduction in cancer incidence.”

Launching the strategic plan, the governor said that the initiative was birthed with the collaborative efforts of the state government and the private sector. Ajimobi stated that effective healthcare system could not be sustained by government alone, but with the support of the private sector, adding that mortality rate attributed to cancer had been alarming and must be nipped in the bud. The governor said, “May I reiterate the fact that effective healthcare service delivery the world over is a joint venture between government and the private sector. It is evident that health cannot be sustained by government’s efforts alone. “As a responsive government, we have taken a preemptive review of the structure of the healthcare system with the requisite intent of meeting the health needs of our people. An extensive restructuring of the sector, which involves the three tiers of service provision across the state is currently on-going. “Permit me to use this opportunity to commend the efforts of my wife, who I unequivocally describe as a philanthropist par excellence. She is a woman with the milk of kindness and concern for the welfare and wellbeing of others. I thank her for this initiative and others before this.”

In her welcome address, the wife of the governor said that the plight of cancer patients informed her decision to play a major role in bringing smiles back to their faces, adding that the plan would harp on prevention of the disease rather than cure. Mrs. Ajimobi hinted that the strategic plan was targeting 500,000 people for screening annually, with 165 centers to be created across the state, while soliciting a special cancer fund to assist cancer patients in the State. She said, “A significant proportion of the citizenry are not aware of cancer, neither are the majority equipped with much-needed information to protect themselves and their loved ones from it, leading to late presentation.

“The strategic plan is targeted at five identified priority areas and will be implemented in two phases over the next five years. Its implementation will also be supervised and coordinated by a steering committee comprising of relevant stakeholders.“Over the next three months, 1,320 nurses across the 33 Local Government Areas of the state will be trained on cancer screening and 165 screening centers (5 in each LGA), capable of screening 500 thousand people annually, will be established. “Although this plan has been designed to be sustainable, there is a need to establish a Cancer Fund to support cancer patients in the state. I am also aware that the State Health Insurance Agency is almost done with plans to incorporate cancer care into all its products and packages.”

Address by the Governor of Oyo State at the launch of the state cancer control strategic plan, April 24, 2018

It gives me great pleasure to be here today. This event marks a turning point in our collective history; the outlook, operationalization and investment in the healthcare service provision in the State most especially when private individuals commit hard-earned meaningful resources to health.
I wish to start with the words of Herbert Spencer which says, “The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality”. Morality being a guiding beacon towards responsibility, I will emphasize, nature has bestowed this responsibility on us.

As a responsive government, we have taken a preemptive review of the structure of the healthcare system with the requisite intent of meeting the health needs of our people. An extensive re-structuring of the sector which involves all the three tiers of service provision across the State is currently on-going. Reappraisal of human and material resources within the sector has given room to appropriate re-alignment to put the State on an improved stead in this regard.
It is in the light of this that today’s event is pivotal to this goal and pleasing to my heart. Lewis Carroll, a British writer once said, “One of the deepest secret of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others”. Words of John Adams, the 2ndPresident of the United States further stress this; “If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind, whom do we serve?”

Esteemed guests, I wish to acknowledge with great pleasure, various levels of contribution culminating in this desire to stem the tide of non-communicable diseases, especially cancers from our communities. This bottom up arrangement, I expect, will bring to bear concerted efforts of Government and various partners on the people in need.
May I reiterate the fact that effective healthcare service delivery the world over is a joint venture between Government and the private sector. It is evident that health cannot be sustained by Government’s efforts alone. A lot can be achieved by a collective will backed by significant action which can bring about remarkable impetus to the system. Today’s occasion is thus a right step in the right direction. It is my belief that we have evolved to such a level that we can give back to the system that nurture us.

As such, we are gathered to reflect on our society, analyze our potentials and provide veritable support to alleviate pains and enshrine a process which will outlast this generation. Thus, I envision that our actions of today will be indelible in the hearts of men, generations yet unborn. I hereby call on all to join wholeheartedly in this dream and support without constraints.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at this juncture, I hereby launch the Oyo State Cancer Control Strategic Plan (2018-2022) to the Glory of the Almighty and the benefit of mankind. I thank you all.