In attempt to curb the $100 million spent to sponsor cancer treatment abroad, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a Bill for an Act which seek to establish a National Cancer Institute for Prevention, treatment and control of the disease in Nigeria to second reading.
Mr. Sunday Karimi, representative Yagba/Mopamuro Federal Constituency of Kogi State, who forwarded the bill, said the institute would serve as the country’s principal agency for the research on cancer related issues.
The lawmaker said the institute would play advisory role to the Ministry of Health on best practices in the management of cancer in Nigeria, noting that the purpose of the bill was to minimise the rate of deaths caused by cancer in the country. He added that lack of knowledge and awareness of the disease is a huge problem; resulting in the increasing deaths.
“The problem is lack of awareness on the control of cancer. On daily basis, one Nigerian man losses his life because of prostate cancer.
“Cancer kills more than HIV and Malaria. However, if detected early, it can be controlled but most cases escalate because of lack of knowledge. The purpose of this bill is to minimise the rate at which people lose their lives to cancer.”
Other House of Rep members who contributed to the debate on the bill such as Muhammed Usman of APC-Kaduna expressed worry that one cancer treatment machine in the country would be grossly inadequate.
The speaker, Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the plenary, referred the bill to Committees on Health Institutions and Health Care Services.
Thousands of people die of cancer in Nigeria, while millions are diagnosed with cancerous tumors. In other countries like US, the financial costs of cancer are estimatedly $263.8 billion in medical costs and lost productivity.