The Kwara state Government, North-Central Nigeria, says it is planning to incorporate breast and cervical cancer screening into routine Primary Health Care (PHC) in the state.
Prof. Wale Suleiman, the Special Adviser on Health Matters to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak, gave the hint at Ajase-Ipo, Irepodun Local Government Area, during the ongoing breast and cervical cancer screening.
Suleiman, also a Neurosurgeon, said that cancer screening needed to be brought down to the PHC level.
“This will ensure the exercise becomes routine and diagnosis are made early.
“The screening would be routine part of medical check-up such as examining blood pressure and sugar, among others.
“There is a low price device that is effective and can be utilized for routine screening, unlike the Mammogram and breast MRI machines that are expensive,” he said.
The Special Adviser further said that the screening was an initiative of the state to go into private, government and community partnership on health.
It was in conjunction with a private company, Monitor Healthcare Ltd, to get women across the 16 local government areas in the state to quicken healthcare delivery.
“The government is more interested in preventive medicine, where diseases are arrested early enough or prevented entirely.
“The government is focusing on conducive work environment with available right tools, right medication, and necessary adequate revenue that can finance healthcare delivery effectively.
“Within two months, the state government would launch health insurance for the people as part of effort to address healthcare challenges,” Suleiman said.
He gave assurance that the government would continue to partner with experts to develop the healthcare sector, adding that after the screening, data captured would be collated and analyzed.
Dr Femi Ogunremi, Chief Executive Officer of the company, said that they referred suspected cases to tertiary health facilities in the state for medication.
“…Those with cervical cancer undergo cauterization at the spot of the screening.
“In terms of payment for those who are indigent, we are partnering with the state government to see how we can offer support to these people,’’ Ogunremi said.
The Executive Officer said the healthcare had so far covered 10 local government areas and received welcome reception, which showed that the people were willing to participate in the screening:
“I have screened over 3,000 people across Nigeria, but the reception here, even in communities given short notice is very impressive.’’
Also, Dr Stephen Arigidi of the state Ministry of Health, while addressing beneficiaries of the cancer screening, advised women to avail themselves of the opportunity to get tested.
Arigidi warned that cancer was deadly but can be cured, if detected early before degeneration.
Amaka E. Nliam