The Federal Government has unveiled its commitment to addressing the needs of cancer survivors in its upcoming cancer policies.
Dr. Usman Aliyu, the Director-General of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, shared this significant development during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Saturday.
Dr. Aliyu revealed that these plans are part of a trio of cancer policies designed to bolster cancer prevention and treatment efforts in Nigeria.
The National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, established in January, has been diligently working on these policies to ensure that cancer prevention, treatment, and comprehensive research on all cancer-related issues are given priority.
He stated, “We have drafted our second National Strategic Cancer Control Plan.
The first one that was ever drafted for the country was for 2018 to 2022, which has expired, but I’m happy to announce to you that the institute has drafted a new cancer plan.”
New five-year plan is set to span from 2023 to 2027 and will encompass a wide range of areas, including cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, palliative care, and, notably, survivorship.
The inclusion of survivorship in the plan is seen as a significant step forward, as it has traditionally been a neglected area in cancer care.
Dr. Aliyu also mentioned that the institute has collaborated with the World Health Organization and other partners to develop Nigeria’s first National Cervical Cancer Control Plan for 2023-2027.
This plan aligns with the WHO’s agenda to eliminate cervical cancer by 2030.
As a research institute, the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment recognizes the importance of research in advancing cancer care.
Consequently, they have created the first National Cancer Research Agenda for the country, spanning from 2024 to 2028.
This agenda will guide and direct cancer research efforts in Nigeria.
All of these crucial documents are expected to be officially launched during the 2023 International Cancer Week, scheduled for October 23 to 26 in Abuja.
The theme for the event is “Addressing Cancer Care Disparities through Research and Improved Access to Treatment.”
The theme is rooted in the need to bridge the disparities in cancer care, with a focus on addressing issues related to race, ethnicity, and tribal differences, which have contributed to substantial imbalances in cancer care globally.
It is in response to the pressing need to close these gaps that oncologists worldwide are actively pursuing research and policy development.
Dr. Aliyu pointed out that despite substantial investments in cancer prevention, research, and treatment, there has been a concerning increase in the number of new cancer cases and deaths.
Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC), particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, are projected to bear the brunt of this increase.
This underscores the urgent need to rectify the disparities in cancer care and enhance global efforts to combat this deadly disease.