Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
Federal Government has approved the integration of the Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kebbi and Kebbi Medical Centre, Kalgo into the Cancer Access Partnership (CAP) programme with 50 percentage cost of cancer treatment reduction for patients.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stated this during the launching of Kebbi State Cancer Control plan and indigent patients’ cancer fund in Kalgo town, Kalgo Local Government Area, of the State on Thursday.
Ehanire explained that the programme would provide cancer medicine at over 50 per cent reduced cost, adding that the two hospitals were the first in their categories so far included in the CAP programme.
The Minister, who was represented by the Chief Medical Director(CMD), Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kebbi, Dr Aliyu Hamza Balarebe, said: ‘It was in recognition of the giant strides of Gov. Atiku Bagudu- led government that I recently approved the inclusion of the federal medical centre, Birnin Kebbi and the State Government-owned Kalgo medical centre as beneficiaries of the cancer access partnership (CAP) programme.
‘This programme will provide cancer medicines at over 50 per cent cost. These two hospitals are the first in their categories so far included in the CAP programme,’ he said.
Ehanire recalled that the ministry developed a National Cancer Control Plan 2007 – 2013, adding that the ministry was currently implementing the Nigeria National Cancer Control Plan 2018 – 2022.
‘This plan has guided the development and implementation of several cancer control activities in the country with tremendous achievements.
‘It is worthy to note that the ministry had requested all the 36 states of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory to establish state cancer control programmes and develop cancer control plans as far back as 2010 but only a few states responded,’ he said.
He commended Gov. Bagudu and his Wife, Dr Zainab Shinkafi – Bagudu for their efforts in ensuring that the State became among the very few in the country to develop cancer control plan and to launch indigent cancer patients’ fund.
Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu in his speech expressed his happiness to present a cheque of N20 million in addition to the N10 million earlier presented to the Cancer foundation by the State Government for the treatment of indigent patients.
‘This N20 million is to join N10 million that had earlier provided which we all informed that 62 patients benefited from. The significance of that is that most of the request I received on a medical assistant as the Governor involved travelling to other countries. And just the cost of travelling alone is over a million. But if this fund is used to support patients not going abroad, that N10 million will also cater for more, more patients. We have commendably supported 62 persons and I believe this will go along way.’
Governor Bagudu who narrated the burden and pains many indigents cancer patients went through, said most often, they don’t mind exposing their naked burden to those who will help them.
‘We have had medical outreaches in the past here in Kalgo Medical Centre and a number of cancer cases were diagnosed. I remember one case when I was visiting during one of such outreach. I met a very very frustrating woman who is suffering from breast cancer. She would not even hesitate to show you her breasts cancer burden, that is a challenge. The outreach team diagnosed her and within a day, she got treated, but regrettably, she lost her breasts but she was treated.
‘That is how the catastrophe of cancer to individual and family can be. One can realise the importance of this fund for the public and to the general public at large and they should all come to support those who can’t secure cancer treatment.’
In her remarks, Dr Shinkafi – Bagudu, said that the launching of the state cancer control plan indicated the tremendous efforts to advance the collective fight against cancer in the State.
According to her, ‘Kebbi State is a progressive state in cancer control. I commend the strong political goodwill shown by Gov. Bagudu. We have good policy implementation, encouraging vaccinations, and have forged relevant collaborations and partnerships with local and international organizations like Roche, Johnson and Johnson, CHAI, among others, as our level of awareness is second to none.
‘All these will translate to a strengthened primary and secondary facilities,’ she said.
Shinkafi-Bagudu, who is the founder of Medicaid foundation and Director in the Board of Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), urged the stakeholders in cancer control project to ensure implementation of the plan.