By Faith Ekeh, Abuja.
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark Cancer Day, Project PINK Blue (PPB), a Non Governmental Organization has stressed that early detection is key in the fight against Cancer.
Runcie Chidebe, Executive Director of Project PINK BLUE and convener of the 2019 world cancer day in Nigeria, decried the number of cancer deaths recorded in Nigeria adding that the deaths would have been prevented if there was an early diagnosis of the disease.
Chidebe made this known in Abuja while addressing a crowd of about a thousand people of volunteers and others who gathered at the Transcorp Hilton Hotels and marched out for the 5km choke cancer walk and awareness to mark the 2019 World Cancer Day.
According to him, “The essence of the walk is to create awareness and to get everyone involved including Government and private sectors”.
He added, “In Nigeria according to the World Health Organization, WHO, over 115,00 people actually had cancer and out of them over 72,000 of them died of this disease.This number is really huge and we can all make a difference by being cancer aware”.
Chidebe further informed that a free breast cancer, prostrate cancer and cervical cancer screening will be provided to at least 1000 people as part of activities to mark the day.
However, Chidebe while stressing on the importance of early detection and treatment worried that cancer treatment is highly limited in Nigeria adding that most Nigerians cannot afford the expensive cancer treatment.
“The Nigerian health insurance only covers about one per cent of Nigerians, how can we live in a country where health insurance is actually not mandatory, but vehicle insurance is mandatory. What is our priority in this country”, he intimated.
He therefore charged Government to take intentional action in curtailing cancer.
In his words, “We are losing out mentors, we are losing our fathers, mothers, children, to disease that the other part of the world are curtailing.
Speaking also, unbehalf of Transcorp Hotels Abuja, the Executive Director, Okaima Ohizua, urged everyone to join in the fight to choke cancer.
She added: “I lost my dad this year to cancer and my sister 10 years ago to cancer also. Early detection would have saved their lives. I urge us all to take advantage of the free cancer screening”.
Speaking earlier, Lady G of 99.5 Wazobia FM Abuja, thanked PPB for their efforts to create awareness on cancer and further urged PPB, individuals and other corporate and private organisations to take these message of early detection as an effective way to address cancer to the rural communities who might not have access to these information so that the fight to choke cancer can be a wholistic one. In her words, “These message of early detection must be taken to the rural communities who might have access to these information of early detection and also access to these free cancer screenings”.