Nigerian House of Representatives has resolved to urge the Federal Ministry of Health to partner with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and other relevant stakeholders and development partners to harness a multi-sectoral effort to improve cancer care in Nigeria.
The House also called for the establishment of stand-alone standard comprehensive cancer centres in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.
This followed a motion moved by Hon. Samuel Adejare, representing Agege Federal Constituency of Lagos State during Thursday plenary at the floor of the green chamber in Abuja on the ‘Need to Address the Incidence of Mortality from Cancer in Nigeria’.
In the body of the motion Hon.Adejare noted that the World Cancer Day is marked on 4 February every year to remind the world of the scourge of Cancer around the globe and to stimulate Stakeholders to create awareness and step up activities towards stemming the burden and mortality of cancer;
He hinted that there are over 800,000 new cases in Africa, 1/3 of which are Nigerians and 86% of them may die within the first year of diagnosis of the disease 35% of which is caused by preventable infection diseases and conditions;
Hon. Adejare said ” the House acknowledges that by the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, Nigeria needs 180 radiotherapy machines for the over 180 million people, yet there are only eight (8) functional machines available in Nigeria for both treatment and palliation.
“Cognizant that Nigeria has only 5% of the required specialized personnel for cancer care which includes pathologists, radiotherapists, oncologists, gynaecologists and oncology nurses, which is inadequate to care for the nation;
“Concerned that going by the current trend, cancer is fast becoming a national epidemic and a serious health emergency with dire consequences if no urgent and effective intervention is instituted”.
The House therefore unanimously resolves to urge the Federal Ministry of Health to commission a national survey to generate reliable data on the prevalence of the several cancers plaguing the Nigerian people, availability of laboratory diagnostic facilities such as immunohistochemistry and molecular pathology technique, radio-diagnostics including nuclear medicine facilities to enable more exact and reliable diagnosis and treatment of cancer, available personnel and gaps.
The lawmakers also called for the need to support the training institutions such as the postgraduate medical colleges, post-basic schools of nursing and medical research institutions to produce more specialists for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The motion which was seconded by Hon. Dennis Idahosa was voted on and adopted and the Committees on Healthcare Services and Health Institution were mandated to ensure implementation.