By Talatu Maiwada
Abuja – National Hospital Abuja, on Friday in Abuja, says it is set to
offer quality cancer treatment at subsidised rate of two thousand dollars to indigent Nigerians.
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Jaf Momoh, made this known on Friday in Abuja at the
launch of the second Linear Accelerator Radiotherapy machine (LINAC) at National Hospital, Abuja.
The machine was donated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a medical linear accelerator is a device commonly used for external beam
radiation treatment on cancer patients.
The device delivers high-energy x-ray or electrons to the patient’s tumour region.
Momoh, therefore, said that with the launch of the second LINAC, the hospital was poised toward effective and efficient
treatment of cancer.
He added that “instead of going to other countries to spend 10 thousand dollars, Nigerians will now
spend less than two thousand dollars and we have provisions for indigent patients.
“The state-of-the-act equipment is the best you can find anywhere in the world in terms of speed, durability and
ruggedness, and patients will no longer be interrupted during routine equipment maintenance.
“The first radiotherapy machine was inaugurated in 2000, where 850 patients were treated in 20 months with over 25,000 cycles of radiotherapy sessions.
“The difference with the one we use to have is that it takes about 15 minutes for each round of treatment, but with the two equipment,
it will now take just two minutes for a round of treatment.”
The chief medical director explained that six cancer centres were now being upgraded in the country, including the National Hospital Abuja,
adding that the hospital presently has two functional radiotherapy equipment.
He said that the centre would also screen patients who underwent treatment with the machine to know the state of their condition.
On maintenance, he said that the hospital has an agreement with the manufacturers of the machine for routine maintenance by engineers.
He advised Nigerians to modify their lifestyles to prevent the ailment, noting that treatment was not enough.
He added that “treatment of the condition is not enough; we must prevent diseases from happening such as early diagnosis,
life style modification by doing exercise and eating right, as well as regular medical check-up.”
Clare Omatseye, Managing Director of JNC International, Turkey Medical Equipment Services, said “Nigeria loses about a
billion dollars annually on medical tourism.”
Omatseye added that many Nigerians travel abroad on medical tourism, mostly for cancer treatment and cardiovascular diseases,
saying that National Hospital Abuja would soon make a difference in cancer treatment.
According to her, about 70 per cent of cancer patients need radiotherapy, noting that the machine has high capacity to accommodate
more patients as the scanning time is shorter with better accuracy.
She explained that the organs of patients would not be at risk during treatment, as the dose of radiation would go straight to the
tumours, while preventing other cancers from developing.
The Chairperson of the Governing Board of National Hospital, Rt. Hon. Patricia Etteh, commended NNPC and SNEPCo
for the donation.
Etteh said that the machine would go a long way in detecting and eradicating cancer and other diseases as she thanked
the board, management and staff of of National Hospital Abuja for ensuring maximum use of the machine.
She said “cancer is a public health issue affecting large number of the Nigerian population.
“This has shown that National Hospital Abuja is responsible, capable, responsive and prompt in giving attention to
the treatment of the disease.”
The intervention is part of NNPC and SNEPCo’s investment programme in the health sector.