By Benjamine Ama, The Sight News
Abuja-As the fight for the eradication of cancer continues in Nigeria and the world at large, groups such as Project Pink-Blue, did not leave any stone unturned in enlightening Nigerians on ways to #chokecancer, as it joined the rest of world to mark the World Cancer Day 2018 with a symposium.
The event which took place in Abuja was designed to create awareness, increase public support for the eradication of cancer and to provide a platform for strategic planning between project PINK-BLUE and it stakeholders in the exchange program in oncology care in Nigeria by September 2018.
The event featured dignitaries such as the Board Chairman Project PINK-BLUE-Health and Psychological Trust Centre, Prof. P. O. Ebigbo, Deputy Chair, House Committee on Health Services, Hon. Muhammad Usman, National Coordinator, National Cancer Control Program, Dr. David Atuwo,
Executive Director Project PINK-BLUE- Health and psychological Trust Centre, Runcie C.W. Chidebe and others.
In his opening speech, the Board Chairman, Project PINK-BLUE- Health and Psychological Trust Centre, Prof. P.O. Ebigo, disclosed that he was diagnosed of stage one prostate cancer in 2016 and one year after, he was treated with radical prostatectomy. He advised Nigerians to join the world in the fight against cancer.
According to him, “Since 2015, every year, we join the cancer communities across the globe and the union for International World Cancer Day with awareness walk, free screenings, policy engagement meetings and launching of various initiatives. At the 2015 World Cancer day, we launched the Breast Cancer Navigation and palliative program (BCNPP), a program that trained 43 Nurses to become patient navigator, helping cancer patients to navigate the complex healthcare system.
“Our patient navigation program became the first navigation in Nigeria and today it has extended to Enugu, Lagos and more centers to come. BCNPP was founded by Pfizer Oncology, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and U.S Embassy in Nigeria.
“In our own little way, we launched a cancer Toll Free Telephone (08000CANCER) to help improve access to cancer information” he noted.
On her part,the President, Abuja Breast Cancer Support Group, Mrs. Gloria Orji said the group was formed in 2017 by project PINK-BLUE with the objective to enlighten and educate the society about the dangers of cancer and how to access treatment for the disease.
She further advised that instead of seeking treatments from non-professionals, patients should go to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment.
Also speaking,the Executive Director, Project PINK-BLUE-Health and Psychological Trust Centre Mr. Runcie Chidebe stated that there is a huge inequality in the treatment of cancer between Nigeria and other countries of the world such as America, UK China etc, and therefore urged the government and other stakeholders to invest in Nigeria’s health sector in order to help eradicate cancer.
World Cancer Day is an international day marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.
The Project Pink-Blue World Cancer day 2018 Commemoration and Symposium had the theme, “Sustainable Funding for Cancer Care and Treatment in Nigeria”.