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NMA blames cancer spread on poor media coverage, legislation

NIGERIA Medical Association (NMA) has blamed the increased incidence and menace of cancer on poor reportage and legislation, hence called for appropriate media attention and adequate laws to address carcinogens found in the Nigerian environment.

This disturbing issue of cancer was raised in an official report presented by Francis Faduyile, NMA President, on the occasion of the association’s National Executive Council meeting (NEC) in Abuja.

The official report revealed that inhalation of tobacco smoke, industrial pollution and inadequate implementation of existing laws on cancer control and insufficient diagnostic and treatment facilities have helped set cancer incidence and resulting deaths on the fast lane.

The Federal ministry of health in the National Cancer Control Plan (2018 – 2022), recorded that cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year, with an estimated 102,000 new cases of cancer annually, with breast and cervical cancers as the two most common types of cancer responsible for approximately 50.3 per cent of all cancer cases in Nigeria.

Cancer treatment is not provided for in the National Health Insurance Scheme, moreover, the cost of managing cancer patients is expensive. These, NMA laments have been the main factors responsible for increased incidence and burden of cancer in Nigeria.

More so, NMA went on to complain that the funds designated to the health sector from the budget have been insufficient. This has translated to neglect, as well as inadequate funding of registries and cancer research in the country.

Governments at all levels were therefore called upon to institute effective cancer prevention and control strategies aimed at reversing the rising incidence of cancer.

The Federal Ministry of Health’s National Cancer Control Plan (2018 – 2022), features the following strategic goals: Encourage lifestyle modifications that reduce contact between individuals and carcinogens for all Nigerians; make screening services and early detection of cancer available for all Nigerians;  to improve access to quality, cost-effective and equitable diagnostic and treatment services for cancer care; to ensure the availability of drugs, consumables and functional equipment for cancer care in Nigeria; and to increase cancer awareness and advocate for cancer control among the populace.

It is assumed that the implementation of the National Cancer Control Plan will address the spate of cancer in Nigeria to a reasonable extent, even though practical steps taken towards implementation are yet to be seen.

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