Immune system research cancer treatment centres diphtheria illness
FG should establish more research centres for cancer.

FG, Others to Enhance Sustainable Grassroots Cancer Care

The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Medicaid Cancer Foundation, and other stakeholders on Wednesday pledged to drive a sustainable grassroots campaign in cancer control and care.

They pledged in Abuja at the inauguration of the 25-member City Executive Council for the City Cancer Challenge initiative in Nigeria.

The C/Can has been a force in global efforts to enhance equitable and high-quality cancer care since its inception as a Union for the International Cancer Control initiative in 2017.

Abuja joined the C/Can network in May 2023 through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the former Minister of the FCT and heads of other consortium partners. It was, however, launched in October 2023.

The consortium includes the FMoH, the FCTA, the CHAI, and the MCF.

The committee is, however, meant to lead the city’s sustainability planning for the C/Can initiative, and to ensure the development of concrete plans for continued implementation, and scale-up projects beyond the initial three-year period of direct support.

In her opening remarks, the Mandate Secretary, Health Services & Environment Secretariat, FCT, Dr Adedolapo Fasawe noted that there was a need to unite in leading the charge of transforming cancer care in Abuja.

Applauding the members of the committee for agreeing to serve, Dr Fasawe said, “Our mission is clear -provide guidance and expert input during each phase of the initiative, ensure that the process aligns with and supports existing city, and national initiatives, and support a robust, data-driven process by collaborating closely with C/Can to ensure the application of a strong data governance framework.

“This committee brings together a diverse group of dedicated professionals, experts, and community leaders. Each of you brings unique skills, experiences, and perspectives that are invaluable to our collective mission. Your commitment and passion for improving health outcomes, particularly cancer care will be the driving force behind our success.

“As we embark on this journey, let us be guided by a spirit of collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity. Let us be bold in our thinking, strategic in our actions, and unwavering in our commitment to the health of our community.”

She assured the committee of the FCT’s support and commitment to the success of the project.

Also speaking, the National Coordinator of the National Cancer Control Programme at the FMoH, Dr Uchechukwu Nwokwu said the government is committed to improving access to cancer treatment in Abuja.

“We are going to build up what we’re already doing and domesticate the solutions that are available across the globe in Nigeria. Cancer care is very expensive, and we believe that with C/Can, we’ll be able to have more collaborations with other agencies and partners to improve access to cancer care in Nigeria, from diagnosis to treatment.

“We’re hoping that we should be able to develop a system that can provide diagnosis and treatment so that as we create awareness, people can have the place they can run to get their treatment done.

“As committee members, we are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that our cancer patients begin to have solutions to their problems,” Dr Nwokwu stated.

On her part, the Director of Africa and Europe at City Cancer Challenge Foundation, Sophie Bussman-Kemdjo, noted that the initiative is aimed at improving patients’ lives in the country.

“The foundation was created because there was this need to be in the city and work closely with local stakeholders to make sure that any idea of novel solution had to be implemented and not just discussed.

“So, we’re bringing in Nigeria to make sure that the fundamentals, in terms of cancer care and health system strengthening addressed and also ensure that the country, beginning from Abuja, gets all the support from different stakeholders, the private sector, and development agencies because there will be a bankable document with data information that will allow to create those solutions for Nigeria,” she said.

She added that the inaugurated committee will take on the leadership role for the initiative, driving it forward to the local, regional, and local levels while ensuring the solutions are locally sustainable.