Nigerians spend $200m annually on Cancer Treatment abroad

Experts have said that Nigerians spend $200 million annually on cancer treatment abroad.

This was disclosed in a press conference organized by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, CECP, in Nigeria and Association of Advertising Agencies in Nigeria to mark the World Cancer Day, WCD, on February 4, 2015.

The event, which was held at CVL, Balarabe Musa street, Victoria Island, Lagos, dealt on the reasons why there is need for public awareness creation about the disease and the need for the government to make cancer treatment centres available throughout the country.

Speaking at the event, Abia Nzelu, executive secretary, CECP, said “Nigerians spend $200 million annually on treatment abroad. Incidentally, $200 million is the approximate amount needed to establish three Comprehensive Cancer Centres or to acquire 300 Mobile Cancer Centres.

“Unfortunately, the outcome for Nigerians who embark on cancer-related medical tourism is often poor, because of late detection. Cancer constitutes a preventable major drain on our human and financial resources. Ours is a classic example of being penny wise and pound foolish.”

Nzelu added that “Nigeria has no Mobile Cancer Centres, MCC; therefore, most Nigerians have no access to basic cancer screening. Likewise, Nigeria has no single Comprehensive Cancer Centre, CCC; therefore, most Nigerians have no access to optimal cancer treatment.

“A Comprehensive Cancer Centre costs about $63 million, while a Mobile Cancer Centre costs about $600,000. Radiotherapy which is one of the essential equipment needed to manage cases of cancer is unavailable in most tertiary hospitals in Nigeria. Only four public hospitals and one private hospital have such facilities in Nigeria, and at the moment some of these are not functional.”

The World Cancer Day is set aside by the United Nations/World Health Organization to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. The Day is the one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite in the fight against the global cancer epidemic.

The theme for World Cancer Day 2015 is ‘Not Beyond Us,’ which takes a positive and proactive approach to the fight against cancer, highlighting that solutions do exist and that they are within our reach.

According to the WHO, over 100,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer annually, and about 80,000 die from the disease; this comes to 240 Nigerians every day or 10 Nigerians every hour, dying from cancer. The Nigerian cancer death ratio of 4 in 5 is one of the worst in the whole world.

Present at the event were, Pat Utomi, the Chairman Steering Committee CECP, Alfred Ohiani Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Adetutu Adeleke, Convener of CECP, Sherifat Andu, MD/CEO, Arabel Group of Companies, Oluwatoyin Sanni, MD/CEO, UNITED Capital Plc, Frank Aigbogun, Publisher, Business Day Newspaper and Charles Chijide, President, Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN among others.

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