Health minister Isaac Adewole on Friday in Abuja said 10,000 Nigerians die annually due to lack of basic equipment for treatment of cancer.
Prof Adewole said this at the inauguration of the National Hospital’s Radiotherapy Centre for cancer treatment.
He attributed the number of deaths to lack of necessary equipment and resources to attend to cancer patients.
The minister described cancer as a worldwide disease that kills more people than the combination of Tuberculosis, infectious diseases and HIV, and decried the lack of resources to cushion the effect of cancer.
“Based on the review of International Atomic Energy Agencies of all countries conducted in 2013, only South Africa and Egypt have the capability of treating cancer,” he stated, a situation he described as worrisome.
Speaking on the new facility, Adewole commended the wife of the vice president, Dolapo Osinbajo, for her passion in addressing the plight of cancer patients.
He noted that such passion had helped to make the centre operational, which will help toward alleviating the plight of patients.
He assured that the number of Multilleave Lenear Accelerator machine at the facility, which is just one at the moment, would be increased in order to forestall the challenges patients would face in the event of the breakdown of one.
The minister pledged the federal government’s commitment to upgrade the other seven cancer centres next year in order to minimise the burden of cancer and associated cancer-related deaths in the country.
He said: “We are making moves to have two new machines that can treat people and we also pledge to complete this centre to become the first of its kind in Nigeria,’’ Adewole said.
The minister, who noted the standard practice of one machine to one million people, emphasised that considering the population of the country, Nigeria required 200 of such machines across the seven cancer centres in the country. (NAN)