Wife of Kebbi State governor, Mrs Zainab Bagudu, has called for a national screening policy to help in the early detection of cancer.
Bagudu who is the founder of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), MedicAid Cancer Foundation made the call in Abuja where she said the idea would tackle the challenges faced by both states and federal government in combating the disease.
“We have to put in place the right hospitals and a national screening policy – that every year when an individual reaches a certain age, he or she has to go for screening. For the men, at certain age, he should go for prostate screening; this is how the developed world has taken care of it (cancer). In the western world, there is a system that takes care of early stages of disease and that is why survival rate is 95 per cent and our’s is as low as 5 per cent in some areas unfortunately,” Bagudu said.
According to her, Nigeria as the economic hub of Africa has a good cancer control plan but funding remains the major challenge.
Bagudu, who called for collaboration of state governments, private sector and the federal government noted that having a regional cancer centre would go a long way in the fight against the disease in the country.
She said her foundation would collaborate with Kebbi government to establish a chemotherapy centre in the state to assist with diagnosis in the region.
“We are trying to do something with the Kebbi government to get a machine that will be able to detect tissues to know a particular kind of cancer. In the north right now, when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, and to be able to know the type of cancer, the person has to go to Sokoto, Zaria or Abuja. There is no reason why we shouldn’t have that machine in Kebbi and we are sorting that out to have a chemotherapy centre. It is impossible to avoid cancer; it can not be eliminated totally but we just have to keep on going with the awareness and health structure and screening. We must be able to have a system in place to attack it and must keep on educating people about it. You can go to the chemist and buy malaria drugs but you can’t do that for cancer and that makes it a challenge.”
She said that the establishment of a regional cancer centre and availability of infrastructure would drop the cost of treatment.