By Justina Auta
Medicaid Cancer Foundation, an NGO, launched a Patient Assistance Programme in Abuja to reduce the cost of medication for cancer patients in the country.
Dr Zainab Bagudu, the Founder of the NGO and wife of the Kebbi Governor, launched the programme at an event in Abuja
to mark the 2020 World Cancer Day, celebrated annually on Feb. 4 to raise awareness on the deadly scourge and to
suggest best treatment options and precautions.
The 2020 celebration has “I Am and I Will” as its theme.
Bagudu, therefore, said that the launch of the programme was part of efforts to redefine cancer care in the country.
She added that the move was also aimed at assisting cancer patients toward accessing care and treatment, as well as to reduce the prevalence of the disease in Nigeria.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body which develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working.
It is a situation where old cells refuse to die, and instead, grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells and the extra cells may form a mass of tissue called tumour.
According to her, the assistance programme is in partnership with Roche Nigeria Limited and Sanofi-Aventis Nigerian Limited.
She explained that the foundation had in the past, paid between 40 and 100 per cent of cost of treatment for cancer patients across the country.
She said “cancer diagnosis and treatment is very expensive and catastrophic. We have seen many families change their lifestyles so they can redirect some of their finances to the treatment.
“Life after diagnosis for most of our patients can be traumatising and financially catastrophic.
“We are in partnership with Roche Nigeria Ltd. and Sanofi-Aventis Nigeria Ltd. to establish a community pharmacy based medication assistance programme to help optimise better outcomes for patients who cannot afford to pay for their entire treatment.
“This is to reduce the burden on patients. Our aim is to make medications available to patients at a much lower cost.”
Bagudu said that the programme would reduce cost, improve treatment outcomes by supporting access to complete treatment cycle, support improvement in survival data collection and encourage screening and early detection of cancer.
Dr Bello Mohammed, a Clinical and Radiation Oncologist and President, African Organisation for Research and Training in
Cancer (AORTIC) reiterated the organisation’s commitment in cancer care, management and treatment.
He said “we do realise that most of our treatments are validated or randomized outside Africa, so what our organisation is doing is to make sure that treatment that we are doing in Africa is purposely researched for Africa.
So, we are literally everywhere as far as cancer control and care is concerned.”
Also, Dr Aisha Umar, a Urologist at the National Hospital, Abuja, commended the foundation for the financial support
to cancer patients, as well as its advocacy for screening and early detection.
Umar said that the NGO recently gave over N9 million to cancer patients at the hospital, screened over 250 women for breast and cervical cancer, as well as paid for the treatment of those who tested positive.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that cash and gift items were donated to some cancer survivors by the NGO. (NAN)