From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Cancer is a deadly disease. It is, in fact, reputed as one of the world’s deadliest diseases of the present time. Only a very few survive to tell the full story of their agonies and pains in the hand of the scourging disease.
Recent statistics released by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that over 100, 000 Nigerians are diagnosed of cancer annually. Sadly, 80, 000 of these eventually die due to several factors including non-availability of a treatment and management center.
In the face of this exigency, Kano State Government began moves to establish a N2.4 billion Cancer Treatment Center at the Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital.
Alhaji Audu Bebeji, a health worker, said: “Nigeria, as at date, has only nine cancer centers, six of which are presently not functioning.
The establishment of this center would improve access to its treatment in the state.”
Governor Ganduje expressed similar optimism, saying the center would bring great relief to patients: “Everything humanly possible would be done to ensure that the center is of international standards and repute.
“It is envisioned that our proposed cancer center would join the league of the MacCallum Center, as one of the few cancer treatment facilities in the world, which has a fully integrated clinical and lab program flanking a hospital.
“High-intensity radiation treatment is involved if the detected cancer is in the advanced stage (depending on the type of cancer). That is why we planned to construct radiation bunkers among other specialized infrastructure we a putting in here.
“This administration is deeply concerned about the growing number of cancer patients, including the sad fact that many of them cannot access effective treatment, hence suffering and even death.
Importantly, because we have the largest population in Nigeria, it implies that the incidence of cancer in the state will be higher than most states in the country.
“The closest place cancer patients from Kano can get treatment for cancer now is Abuja. With this center at Muhammadu Buhari Specialists Hospital, patients can get specialized and cheap cancer treatment diagnosis and treatment, in line with WHO recommendation.”
Chief Executive Officer of Bico Nigera, Abubakar Kabir, indicated that the project would be executed in collaboration with a multinational firm, Varian Medicals, assuring that it would be completed within 36 weeks, from the date of the foundation laying ceremony:
“Already, our three foreign consultants are coming in next week. So, from the day we mobilize to site, it will take us not more than 36 weeks to complete the work, This is a big project that will create at least 150 jobs for medical and allied professionals.”
Representatives of Varian Medicals and other stakeholders were in the state earlier. “Our interest for quality cancer management and treatment is what informed our decision to put this all-important project in place. After my visit to the Cancer Centre in Australia, I then found it extremely necessary to have similar thing in place, back home,” Ganduje told the visitors.
The center would be managed under Public Private Partnership (PPP):
“We want to have a strike-free centre, so that our services can be effectively served to the populace without let or hindrance.”
Commissioner of Health, Dr. Kabiru Ibrahim Getso, said the center would go a long way to alleviate the pains and problems of cancer patients in the state and countries like Niger Republic.
Chairman, Kano Ultra Modern Specialist Hospitals (KUSH), Dr. Aminu Garba Magashi, expressed the hope that the centre would cater for cancer cases not only in Nigeria, but across the nations of the Economic Communities for West African States (ECOWAS).