President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday commissioned the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Advanced Cancer Treatment Centre in Lagos, pledging to ensure that facilities for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer are available to more Nigerians.
At the inauguration ceremony of the State-of-the-art Centre in LUTH, Idi Araba, President Buhari also announced that the model will be replicated across the country to bring quality, first-class healthcare services to cancer patients in Nigeria.
‘‘We are aware that up to 40% of funds spent by Nigerians on medical tourism is attributable to patients seeking treatment for cancer. Despite having an increasing number of citizens suffering from cancer, we until now had only two working radiotherapy machines in the country.
‘‘Working through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and LUTH we utilized a PPP model that unlocked investment capital to directly address this issue. We will replicate this model across the country to bring quality, first-class healthcare services to as many Nigerians as we can.
‘‘Indeed, over the coming months, under our leadership, the NSIA will commission two Modern Medical Diagnostic Centers to be co-located in the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State and the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, Abia State, respectively, bringing additional investment to Nigeria’s healthcare sector,’’ he said.
The President while wishing the management of the hospital good luck in operating the center, emphasized the need for maintenance of the equipment.
‘‘Our goal today is not simply to celebrate and applaud the culmination of months of hard work to achieve this objective. Neither is it solely to revel in the successful completion of the most modern and best-equipped Cancer treatment center in West Africa.
‘‘Indeed we are proud, but we recognize that this modest effort to address the gaps in our tertiary healthcare system alone is insufficient to address all the challenges faced by the sector.
‘‘Today, we showcase what feats we can accomplish when we are together, unrelenting in our effort to deliver a common objective.
‘‘No one ever prays to be diagnosed with Cancer, but if they are, what we have made possible here today is the hope that a true chance of survival and good quality of life becomes part of the story of many Nigerian patients with cancer,’’ he said.
The President promised that his administration, which has introduced programmes to alleviate common diseases, including the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund targeted at ensuring access to primary healthcare for all Nigerians, will continue to push hard to raise awareness about cancer, educate the people and facilitate early diagnosis.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole said the center is the most modern and comprehensive cancer treatment in West Africa.
According to the minister, “the center is single largest investment in cancer care and treatment in the country by any administration in Nigeria since independence”.
Adewole added that the facility can cater for 100 patients daily and provide training for over 80 healthcare professionals, among many others, pointing out that the center is billed to commence operations in the first quarter of 2019.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji said the centre is expected to raise the bar in the quality and standard of cancer treatment in Nigeria with outcomes that would be consistent with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
‘‘In addition, this center will demonstrate the economic potential of healthcare investments in Nigeria and catalyze increased private sector participation,” he said.
Also speaking, Professor Chris Bode, Chief Medical Director, LUTH, noted that the Centre is world-class and no Nigerian cancer patient needs to travel abroad again to receive treatment easily obtainable at home.