Posted by News Express | 4 February 2018 | 2,395 times
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the World Cancer Day, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has called on Nigerians to always engage in physical exercises to reduce the risk of suffering from cancer. The minister, who stated this in his World Cancer Day message, said that any form of consistent physical activity will promote healthy living, reduce obesity and sedentary lifestyle, and other non-communicable diseases.
According to him, this year’s theme, “We can. I can”, is geared towards exploring individual and collective drive in reducing the global burden of cancer. The campaign outlined actions that communities and individuals could take to save lives, achieve greater equity in cancer care and make fighting cancer a priority at the highest political level.
On the individual’s role in fighting cancer, Adewole said individuals could make healthy lifestyle choices by engaging in weekly physical activities for at least two and half hours for adults. He also urged Nigerians to avoid tobacco smoking, eat healthy diet, limit alcohol intake and stay safe under the sun. He noted that early detection makes it easier to treat and cure.
Spelling out roles expected from communities in the fight against cancer, the minister praised various organisations and professional bodies that have dedicated sporting programmes, encouraging them to sustain the tempo. Adewole also said that communities should dispel myths that lead to stigma and discrimination against people living with cancer among them.
He called on governments to commit adequate resources to reduce cancer death and provide better quality of life for patients and survivors.
The minister, however, stated that the Federal Ministry of Health had made significant effort in awareness creation by developing jingles on cancer awareness in five Nigerian languages: English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and ‘Pidgin-English’. These, Adewole said, were available for broadcast to the general public on Radio and social media.
“The Ministry is continuing her partnership with the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NUWRT) to broadcast the awareness jingles on another 1,000 long distance buses while the office of National Coordinator for Cancer Programme, Federal Ministry of Health provided technical and material support,” he added.
The minister further said that the commissioning of a new radiotherapy machine at the National Hospital, Abuja (NHA), recently, would provide for easy access to radiation treatment for Nigerians. He disclosed that another new machine donated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) was within the country and would be operational at NHA in the next few months. According to him, the facility at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) should be offering full and uninterrupted service by June 2018.
He further stressed the commitment of the federal government to rolling out nationwide screening for breast and cervical cancer in women and prostate cancer among men in 2018. Despite these giant strides, the minister regretted that there remained some factors militating against these efforts to effectively combat the scourge of cancer in Nigeria.
The key barriers to treatment of cancer in Nigeria, the minister said, include poor awareness, poor health seeking behaviour, low level of non-governmental investments, low number of skilled health care personnel, and funding gaps, amongst others.
To surmount these barriers, Adewole said government was committed to the development of the Public Private Partnership strategies to address the funding gaps and manpower shortages.
He therefore called on interested stakeholders in the national and international arena to partner with Federal Ministry of Health so that more laudable achievements could be recorded in the management of cancer cases in the country.
•Adapted from a LEADERSHIP Sunday report.
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