Nigeria has poorest cancer care, control system — Akeredolu

Wife of the Ondo State governor, Mrs. Betty Anyawu-Akeredolu, on Thursday, lamented that the country ranked among countries with the poorest cancer care and control system. Speaking at the 2020 World Cancer Day in Akure, she pleaded that the government “must act without delay.”

Akeredolu stressed that cancer “hitherto seen as a distant disease is now at our doorsteps causing unimaginable tears and sorrow in many families in Nigeria.” The governor’s wife, who said that breast cancer is not a spiritual attack, accused religious leaders of misguiding affected women. Over 50 million Nigerian women at risk She said: “Instead of going to Prayer Mountains following the advice of religious leaders at the earlier stage, they should go to doctors for proper screening and medical check. “Nigeria ranks amongst countries with poorest cancer care and control system. “Studies have shown that basic breast cancer screenings like clinical breast examination are highly cost-effective, yet it is still not generally available at the primary health care level in Nigeria. “On the contrast, Morocco and India, which are countries referred to as low-middle income countries like Nigeria have CBE generally available at their primary health facilities.” “Nigeria has a population that is five times bigger than morocco and about seven times smaller than India. It implies then that population size did not influence the better cancer control and care system India and Morocco possess in comparison to Nigeria.

Breast cancer patients deserve better care, says Anyanwu-Akeredolu Disturbed by poor management of cancer patients in Nigeria, wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has lamented absence  of a support system for cancer patients, particularly, breast cancer patients across the country.

Anyanwu-Akeredolu who has survived breast cancer for 20 years, noted that  the dysfunctional state of the country’s health system when it comes to breast cancer is worrisome.

She spoke in Lagos at a media launch of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, BRECAN, Lagos Chapter noting that it is heartbreaking to see many women suffer  pain and hopelessness when diagnosed with breast cancer. Overwhelmed with emotion while listening to the testimony of a breast cancer survivor at the event, she said; “It breaks one’s heart when you know that there are lots of women out there, experiencing breast cancer and they are not sure whether they will make it. “They have no money to access care and even when they have it, on getting to the hospital, the Radiotherapy machine is not working.” She queried contributions of pharmaceutical companies and other corporate organisations in the country, adding that abroad, even pharma companies that also operate in Nigeria contribute to treatment of cancer patients.

“What are the pharmaceutical companys in Nigeria doing? The dysfunctional state of our health system most especially when it comes to breast cancer is worrisome. The government, the society at large, have failed us totally. “With a population of about 200million people, we have seven radiotherapy machines and they are not working.  So what are you telling the people? Simply – go home and die and this is unacceptable.” She further called on Nigerian women to join hands to fight the common enemy, breast cancer, adding that awareness was key in reducing the incidence. “I think it behooves on women to join BRECAN in this cause. It is our burden. We want more women to be part of this cause. If we really want to fight breast cancer, awareness is the entry point,” she added.

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