NGO Charges FG On Cancer Care Implementation Bill


Project Pink Blue (PPB), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has charged the Federal Government to implement the 2017 bill on the establishment of the Nigeria Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRT).
The Executive Director of the NGO, Mr Runcie Chidebe, made the call on Saturday, in Abuja, during a road walk to commemorate the 2022 World Cancer Day, usually marked February 4.

He said that the road walk was for advocacy and to create awareness that over 124, 000 Nigerians are diagnosed of cancer every single year, and the need for government to do something.

Chidebe said that 72, 000 Nigerians die of different forms of cancer such as, cervical, blood, breast and others, every single year, a situation that should be prevented.

He stated that there was need for all and sundry to take action on this menace and that cancer can be preventable, treatable and curable, if detected early.

Chidebe also disclosed that the National Assembly had in 2017 passed the NICRT bill which was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, but alleged that nothing had come out of the bill since its passage.

“NASS in its own way passed the NICRT, this bill is to make way on how we can prevent, control and coordinate cancer diagnosis.

“The President also assented to the bill in Dec. 2017, but till date this bill has not been gazetted neither has it been implemented.

“This bill is really pivotal, I am appealing to the President, the Federal Government and all other authorities, to find a solution to tackle the cancer burden.

“In Nigeria, NICRT can help to coordinate funding and ensure people get access to treatment,” he said.

Chidebe also called on private organisations, individuals, to support the drive for cancer control, adding that this was an investment in which we can make a difference.

The executive director also spoke on the less than 90 clinical oncologists available in the country, saying that this was not encouraging to take care of 124, 000 cancer patients.

Mr Ochai Friday, a blood cancer survivor, called on government to support NGOs pushing for the control of cancer with moral support, to do more in terms of creating awareness.

He also called on government to build hospitals that would be dedicated only to cancer treatment alone, while thanking the management of Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, who sponsored his trip abroad in 2016 for cancer treatment.

Miss Gloria Okwu, a breast cancer survivor, called on government to give more attention to cancer treatment just the way it does to other communicable diseases like COVID, tuberculosis, HIV and others.

According to her, cancer was not a death sentence and that people must take care of it early when they notice the symptoms.
Mr Kelvin Brett, the General Manager of Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, stated that the hotel was proud to be associated and to give support to PPB, in the last five years.
He said that the road walk was all about getting the message across, show affiliation with cancer survivors, and for Nigerians to take their health serious.
Mr Chris Elemuwa, Acting Director, Community Health Services, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, however, stated that government was doing everything humanly possible to address the cancer issue.

Elemuwa said that government was also strengthening research into various stages of cancer, adding that, patients must adhere to drugs and whatever treatment was prescribed to them.

He said that we must promote health education, since prevention is better than cure, saying that the agency would continue to strengthen collaboration with partner organisations.

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