Don’t discriminate cancer patients – Minister

Don’t discriminate cancer patients - Minister

Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole has enjoined communities to dispel myths that stigmatise and discriminate people living with cancer.

He made the call at the weekend in a statement to mark this year’s World Cancer Day.

The minister also called on governments to commit adequate resources to reduce cancer deaths and provide better quality of life for patients and survivors.

He advised Nigerians to always engage in physical exercises to reduce the risk of cancer. He said any form of physical activity that is consistent would promote healthy living, reduce obesity and sedentary lifestyle and other non-communicable diseases.

Adewole said the Federal Ministry of Health has made significant efforts in awareness creation through developing jingles on cancer awareness in five Nigerian languages.

He added that the ministry was continuing her partnership with the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NUWRT) to broadcast the awareness jingles on another 1000 long distance buses, while the office of the National Coordinator for Cancer Programme, Federal Ministry of Health provides technical and material support.

He said the recent commissioning of a new radiotherapy machine at the National Hospital Abuja (NHA) would provide easy access to radiation treatment for Nigerians.

Adewole disclosed that another new machine donated by SHELL Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) is in the country and would be operational at the National Hospital in few months. .

The minister said in spite of the giant strides, there were still factors militating against efforts to effectively combat the scourge of cancer in Nigeria.

The key barriers to treatment of cancer in Nigeria, the minister enumerated, include: Poor awareness, poor health seeking behaviour, low level of non-governmental investments, low number of skilled health care personnel, funding gaps, amongst others.

To surmount these barriers, Adewole said, government was committed to the development of the Public-Private Partnership strategies to address funding gaps and manpower shortages.