By Abiodun Azi
Lagos – Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, says the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority-Lagos University Teaching Hospital (NSIA-LUTH) Cancer Treatment Centre is treating 80 cancer patients per day.
Ahmed made this known while addressing newsmen after the inauguration of the NLCC Training and Administrative Building in LUTH, Idi-Araba, Lagos on Monday.
The minister said that various categories of treatment and high technology investment had been deployed to the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre.
“What we want to do, going forward, is to have patients coming from all parts of the country, from our neighbouring countries and all over Africa continent.
“And also, to stem the tide of medical tourism, so that Nigerian citizens do not have to go to the neighboring countries, Europe and U.S to obtain cancer treatment.
“What we have here is very high technology equipment that are obtainable anywhere in the world.
“The training centre will upgrade the knowledge and skills of oncologists, radiologists, physicists and other personnel to provide excellent care to patients in Nigeria,” she said.
Ahmed said this was first of its kind, adding that there would be other centres in other parts of the country.
“When the investor, NSIA, recovers its investment, this centre will be handed over to LUTH, the same business model is being deployed right now.
“The next centre will be commissioned at the Radiology Diagnosis Centre in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, and also, a similar centre in the University Teaching Hospital, Umuahia, there would be others as well,” she said.
Also, Dr Olorunibe Mamora, Minister of State for Health, said he had gone round the centre with other dignitaries around, saying that he was very pleased with what he saw.
Mamora commended NSIA and LUTH authorities for this wonderful experience.
“So our people, patients suffering from cancer, will have no business going abroad again, because what they want to go for is already available here.
“Any type of cancer can be managed from what is here, particularly the common ones that we know, breast, cervical or prostrate; those are the common ones that afflict our people here, and again at a very relatively cheaper rate.
“Because, you will not need to travel, you will not need to pay air fare and other things, usually you have to go with one or two persons to accompany you and these are extra cost.
“So, am happy to be here today, and it is a total package not just the Radiotheraphy; we also have the Chemotheraphy as well, all these are available and the environment is comfortable,” he said.
Mamora said that the centre was not for administering treatment only, it was also for the training of personnel.
He said all personalities involved would be trained, hoping that the centre would be maintained, because maintenance was very important.
Speaking, Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that Lagos was particularly delighted that a high technology development was in place at LUTH.
Abayomi said that the state has a tertiary health academic centre, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), where we have an Oncology Department, but it was not as sophisticated as this.
“Our students and our specialist doctors don’t have to travel to South Africa, India or to America, they can just drive across the bridge and you are in a place just good as you will get anywhere in the world.
“This is really a golden opportunity, and we thanked the President and Minister of Health for choosing Lagos as this specialist facility, and we will continue to support it.
“It will be a great benefit to the entire country as we train small numbers of experts, because there are very few doctors that specialises in this calibre of speciality.
“We can spread this across the country and address cancer as best as we can,” he said.
In his remarks, Prof. Chris Bode, LUTH Chief Medical Director, said it had been quite illuminating working with NSIA, and LUTH would not let them down.
Bode said that no Nigerians would be left out, adding that in the next 10 years, there would be qualitative guaranteed patient care.
He said that what patients would pay for as treatment was cheap when compared to what they pay abroad.
The chief medical director said that patients don’t need to know anyone before coming to access the care.