The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has said the federal government is investing in cancer treatment centres, equipped with innovative machines to ensure more people are treated in the country, rather than travelling outside the for treatment.
Adewole disclosed this during the inspection of the new cancer treatment centre at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba in Lagos.
He explained that the government's investment in establishing innovative world-class cancer treatment centres in the specialist hospitals across the country is to help save people's money, which he added would be cheaper than travelling outside.
"We noticed that treatment is beyond the modalities that will offer.
"Three modalities for cancer treatment are; chemotheraphy, radiation and surgery because most cancer cases are always presented late.
"Improving awareness on cancer treatment will make people to come early for treatment and reduce late presentation of cancer cases," Adewole said.
He also said the government plans to replicate the cancer treatment centre in many health institutions nationwide.
"LUTH has a first class of biomedical centre which they planned to support other centres and I know they will manage the machine properly, which means abandoned and broken equipment will be a thing of the past.
He maintained that there will also be long-time maintenance contract that will enable the government and hospitals manage the cancer machines.
"The cancer treatment centre is almost ready and by February 2019, this centre will start operation fully for the benefits of the patients," Adewole added.
According to the health minister, the federal government, apart from the cancer treatment centre, flagged off the basic healthcare provision fund last week, with the main purpose of providing resource from the federal down to the all facilities and also to the local government level.
He said: "We will also be providing some free basic services to the people such as; immunisation services, delivery services, tuberculosis services, checking blood pressure and urine test and treat under five children.
"We will also be partnering with the state governments, by making sure state provides infrastructure while the Federal government provides money to maintain it.
On the aspect of man power and capacity building, Adewole said: "We are also moving ahead by producing adequate doctors in all health facilities, retain our health professionals by providing necessary equipment, funds and also attract many doctors back to Nigeria.
"Our major aim is to ensure people access quality care in the country in the year 2019".
Explaining the efficiency of the linear accelerator machines for chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, manufactured by Varian Medical Systems, USA, the Chief Executive Officer of Taint Medical Engineering Limited in charge of the machines installation, Anthony Nada, said due to the low power supply in Nigeria, the machines are low energy, built to accommodate any form low electricity.
He added that the machines can take up to 120 patients in less than 48 hours and can last up to the next 10 years, with pans for maintenance to ensure it does not stop working.
Also speaking, Prof. Chris Bode, the Chief Medical Director, LUTH, said establishing a world-class cancer treatment centre in the hospital would help to reduce medical tourism and improve cancer care in the country, which has claimed more lives due to lack of machines.
"When our machines were working properly, many people will come from different states for cancer treatment to this hospital.
"We are really looking forward to the inauguration of the cancer treatment centre because many Nigerians will benefits from it and we already have the manpower, that is enough experts for cancer treatment, but we are trying to also retrain our experts on how to maintain and use the machine properly.
"I want people to know that healthcare is crucial to invest in and I am calling on people to invest more in healthcare system of the country," he added..