From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
As the world continues to seek new knowledge in the golden age of oncology practice such as cryoelectron microscopy, robotic surgery and telemedicine, Nigerian oncologists have converged in Abuja to seek new ways and expanded access to cancer treatment in the country.
In a meeting, organised by Nigeria’s leading supplier of medical hospital equipment and surgical units, Stepcho Nigeria ltd, on the theme: bridging the gap in cancer care’ the oncologists charged state governments and private sector players to support current efforts in the treatment of cancer by providing modern equipment at an affordable cost.
The meeting was organised in collaboration with the federal ministry of health, to help expose Nigeria’s oncologists and heads of federal medical centres, to the new linear accelerator which is being introduced to Nigeria to help move cancer treatment closer to the patients.
Representatives of Bebic: the manufacturers of the linear accelerator- Hamidi Medina and Muhammad Reza who spoke on the new innovation, assured that over 150,000 of such machines have been installed worldwide and that there would be a local team on the ground to help with after-sales care and maintenance.
According to them: It is a digitised dual-photon medical linear accelerator used for a high-accuracy image-guided radiotherapy platform. It has two X-rays and multi-electron rays which can treat deep-seated tumours. It adopts modular real-time control technology and can be equipped with a precise couch.
According to former Minister of Health Prof Isaac Adewole and other oncologists and heads of federal medical centres in Nigeria who spoke at the event, the machine can best be described as an innovation that will provide access and timely care to patients. They also commended the effort by Stepcho Nigeria limited, at providing a state-of-the-art linear accelerator that will help revolutionise the treatment of cancer in Nigeria.
The former health minister who was reputed to have helped in the fight against cancer during his time as minister by helping to equip federal medical centres in the country also noted that the theme of the conference ‘bridging the gap in cancer care is apt as it tallies with the effort of Stepcho Nigeria ltd, for inviting oncologists from across the country to discuss the introduction of the linear accelerators into Nigeria as well as efforts by the federal government in the expansion of the NHIS to help subsidise the cost of treatment of cancer.
Others who spoke at the event included Dr Alonge, Acting Director, Hospital Services Department and Dr Okpikpi Okpako, National Cancer Coordinator at the Federal Ministry of Health. Both speakers described the collaboration between Bibec the manufacturer and Stepcho as a commendable effort as both are big players in the fight against cancer. They believe that this would make the market more competitive and answer the call for more private-sector players to come into the cancer space.
Professor Hamidu Ahmed, chief medical director of the ABU teaching hospital also commended the organisers for giving practitioners and stakeholders in cancer care a new beginning and access to the machine directly as well as access to aftersales services, spare parts and maintenance.