A non-governmental organisation, Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO), has called on the federal and state governments to provide cancer treatment support for indigent individuals due to the high cost of managing and treating the ailment.
LAPO Executive Director, Honestus Obadiora, made the call, yesterday during a sensitisation and awarenesses rally it organised in Igando area of Lagos State.
Obadiora, represented by Sandra Asowata, Head, LAPO NGO, Western Region, said the awareness, which was centred on cervical, breast and prostrate cancer was part of activities to mark the 2021 World Cancer Day.
Obadiora said LAPO was committed to the empowerment of poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria through the implementation of innovative financial and non-financial development programmes.
According to him, the organisation believes poverty is further reinforced by diseases and vice versa and has therefore been involved in community health improvement across the country.
“As a development organisation, LAPO is concerned that cancer is now a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria with over 100,000 persons diagnosed every year of which about 80 percent die due to late detection.
”Globally, 9.6 million people die from cancer every year even though over 80 percent of cancer cases are preventable with early detection while 40 percent of the disease can be eradicated by lifestyle changes.
“In 2016, the LAPO community campaign for cancer control (LAPO-C4) project was initiated by the founder towards preventing and mitigating cancer-related deaths in Nigeria.
”The main focus of the project is mass awareness creation, basic screening services for detection of pre-malignant conditions and building referral linkages for uptake of medical services,” he said.
Obadiora said the project was being implemented in collaboration with six community-based organisations across Lagos, Edo, Imo and Rivers states as well as Abuja.
He said between November 2016 and December 2020, LAPO created mass awareness about cancer in target communities across the country under the LAPO-C4 project.
The executive director said the organisation sensitised 83,405,597 community members against cancer, screened 38,595 persons and referred 26,215 for further screening and treatment in government-approved health facilities.
He said: “World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.
“The need for improved access to basic cancer screening services across the country cannot be overemphasised.
“The best approach is the integration of cancer control services, including the inclusion of the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine in the routine immunisation schedule at Primary Health Care Centres in accordance with the 2018 – 2020 Nigeria National Cancer Control Plan.
“We are also advocating a government policy on cancer treatment support for indigent individuals, considering the enormous financial burden of managing the ailment in Nigeria.
“We appeal to well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations to support LAPO in the implementation of cancer prevention and maternal and child health projects in the country. We need your commitment to create a cancer-free world.”