Members of PPB posed for photograph after the 2023 Cancer Road Walk with the theme “Close the care gap”
A Non-Government Organisations (NGO) Project Pink Blue (PPB), has appealed to the Federal Government FG to gazette the National Cancer Act to put the document into operation.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, Runcie Chidebe, made the call on Saturday in Abuja during a road walk to mark the 2023 World Cancer Day (WCD).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that WCD is annually celebrated on February 4 across the globe to promote awareness on cancer as a public health issue and to strengthen actions toward improving access to quality care, screening, early detection, treatment.
This year’s theme – “Close the Care Gap” marks the second year of the campaign, which is about understanding the inequities in cancer care and taking actions to make the necessary progress to address them.
Represented at the cancer walk by Gloria Okwu, the Programme Coordinator of PPB, Chidebe, therefore, said “the National Cancer Act has been in existence for several years but yet to be put into proper use.”
He added that the act, which gave room for the establishment of the National Cancer Research Institute, had yet to be gazetted.
He explained that if put into proper use, it would galvanise all cancer efforts toward cancer care, especially in terms of diagnosis and research findings, management and treatment.
He said: “the act is not operational for now, maybe when we streamline operations, every efforts will be pointing toward greater impact, so we are asking the government to gazette this act.
“We are also asking government to fund research on this ailment, so researchers can carry out studies on Nigerians and the types of drugs we should use.”
Chidebe also called on government to take action toward eliminating cervical cancer, adding that “there is a vaccine for that.
“We want government to make the cervical cancer vaccine accessible, affordable so that women can it and be protected.”
Okwu, who also spoke in her capacity as programme coordinator of PPB, said that the five-kilometre walk was meant to create awareness about cancer for people within the Abuja.
She added that the walk was also to create awareness about the free cancer screening, blood pressure, blood sugar screening the association along with her other partner is willing to offer Nigerians.
Gloria Nwajiogwu, the President of Network of People Impacted by Cancer in Nigeria, urged government to replace doctors who are leaving the country.
According to her, available medical doctors in the country are overwhelmed by the number of patients who need care.
Nwajiogwu said that Nigeria being a low income country with high cancer burden needed government to close the gap by bringing in more doctors and nurses.
She added that “cancer patients are struggling to survive. We have been going through a lot, we need government to come in, we are talking about closing the care gap.
“The doctors are trying their best but because they are few, we really need to do more in awareness and in bringing more doctors, more medical professionals into the country.
“We are appealing to government to bring in more doctors; we are really committed to the theme of the 2023 WCD– Closing the Care Gap.
“We are also asking stakeholders in the health sector, the Federal Ministry of health, Nigerian Medical Association to do more for cancer patients, we want to live, we want to enjoy with our families.”