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Non-inclusion of Cancer control in NHIS, states’ budgets, disheartening, Akeredolu


WIFE of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has chided government at all levels for failing to make budgetary provisions for cancer control, adding that it was inconceivable that cancer was not included in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Anyanwu-Akeredolu, who is also founder of Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), said that the prevalence of women dying of cancer remained high because states and federal government failed to vote money for cancer control.

Speaking on Monday, at BRECAN house, Ibadan, Anyanwu-Akeredolu maintained that governmental funding and its inclusion in NHIS was critical because treating cancer was expensive and several female victims were poor.

She also bemoaned ignorance of women in early detection and treatment of cancer.

“No woman should die of cancer anymore. You can have breast cancer and have your breast intact. But we don’t value research here in Nigeria.”

“Crosscheck state budgets and see if there is allocation for cancer control, it is zero. To add salt to injury, they came up with NHIS without cancer and cancer is such a disease that people contact as they grow old. Cancer is such an expensive disease to cure and our health system today is cash and carry, that is why many women are dying because they don’t have the money.”

“Women should knock at the door of those that can help them, and that is government. Government must vote money for cancer control at all levels.”

“Breast cancer is complicated, it is not like Malaria. Breast cancer doesn’t kill. You don’t treat cancer by being on prayer mountain. What you should do is breast self-examination but women should visit doctors.”

“There is the need to gather accurate data. Many die in churches, homes, hospitals that are not reported. We want to build statistics but we require funding,” Anyanwu-Akeredolu said.

“The prevalence of cancer remains high because due to ignorance and financial constraints, women with cancer drink different concoction. Nigerians are exploited in their poor state. It is a disease that comes in a painless way and if nothing is done, it progresses. It is a painful that many still die of cancer when with self-examination, it can be detected early,” she added.

Further speaking, Anyanwu-Akeredolu lamented that many Nigerians rarely supported humanitarian causes, except they were directly affected.

She therefore bemoaned the funding challenge BRECAN among other similar associations faced in supporting cancer patients.

“This is a society where people hardly give. Nigerians don’t give especially when matters do not directly affect them. It is only when they are connected or have a relative that is a victim that they are concerned.”

“The issue of humanitarianism is still at its infancy in Nigeria. We believe that gradually it will build up. People must also appreciate the duties, even the rich hardly commit to such causes,” she said.

National President, BRECAN, Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, Mrs Ogbuoju Juliet, urged women to regularly carry out self examination of their breasts to prevent avoidable deaths of women, in their productive years, from cancer.

Meanwhile, a new executive council of BRECAN, Oyo State will be inaugurated on Tuesday, at an event which will see fund raising of N50 million to acquire 18 seater bus and educational materials.

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