The federal government has been urged to include childhood cancer diseases under the cancer health fund- to provide support for parents and children suffering for cancer related illness.
The President Nigerian Cancer Society, Dr Adamu Alhassan made the call in Abuja at a sensitization walk organised by a non-governmental organisation, Okapi Children Cancer Foundation to raise awareness for children fighting cancer.
According to Dr. Adamu, cancer treatment in children was highly neglected and underestimated in Nigeria despite the high rate of death which could be treated and prevented if detected early.
“You find out that most cancers are not detected early and at the advance stages we have high mortality rate among children. Awareness is what bring about early detection. Unlike other forms cancers we don’t have early screening services for children’s cancers and that is the reason why there is need for early detection” he said
A Paediatric consultant at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Dr. Uduak Effiong explained various types of cancers in children and why early presentation in hospital and detection was fundamental for treatment.
“The most common used to Burkitt lymphoma, it was the most common in the malaria zone because it is associated with the presence of malaria. But now in my own center it is kidney cancer and in other centers they have cancer of the eyes which is becoming more rampant in my center too. Leukaemia is also a common type of cancer in Nigeria” Dr. Uduak Explained
The Chief Volunteer, Okapi Children Cancer Foundation, Mrs Kemi Adekonye said cancer treatment was expensive which called for the need to incorporate cancer treatment for children into the National Health Insurance Scheme to support parents and caregiver.
“We would like to see a situation whereby children with cancer are being considered in all the health care schemes, they are being supported psychologically and in all other means as well” she said
The event with the theme, “make childhood cancer a national priority” featured aerobics and a 5 kilometre walk along Jabi-Utako axis of the FCT to raise awareness on the need for Nigerians to recognise and show support to children living with cancer related diseases.