Nigeria Needs 250 Radiotherapy Machines to Fight Cancer, Says Expert

Nigeria needs 250 radiotherapy machines to address its cancer crisis, as the government partners with the private sector to boost cancer care infrastructure and train healthcare workers.

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Nigeria Needs 250 Radiotherapy Machines to Fight Cancer, Says Expert

Nigeria Needs 250 Radiotherapy Machines to Fight Cancer, Says Expert

Nigeria requires 250 radiotherapy machines to effectively address cancer, according to Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, a renowned oncologist and Director of Clinical Trials at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. This statement comes as the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT) plans to collaborate with the private sector to augment the N200 million allocated for cancer treatment and care in the 2024 budget.

Prof. Usman Malami Aliyu, the Director General of NICRAT, disclosed that his agency aims to complement the government's efforts by partnering with private organizations. The Nigerian government has recently established six cancer centers across different geopolitical zones in the country to enhance access to cancer care. However, Prof. Okoye emphasized that the available resources remain insufficient to meet the nation's cancer treatment needs, given its population of over 200 million.

Why this matters: Cancer is a major public health issue in Nigeria, with many patients facing challenges in accessing adequate treatment due to limited resources and facilities. Addressing the shortage of radiotherapy machines and improving cancer care infrastructure is crucial for reducing the burden of the disease and improving patient outcomes.

Prof. Aliyu outlined NICRAT's priorities for 2024, which include mapping cancer occurrences, enhancing treatment capabilities, allocating resources for data collection, and addressing the costs associated with closing identified gaps. He also plans to establish a national cancer registry, which is a critical element in cancer prevention, treatment, and care. NICRAT is collaborating with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to train frontline health workers in basic cancer screening techniques.

"The recommendation is one radiotherapy machine per one million population," Prof. Okoye noted, highlighting the current inadequacy of cancer treatment facilities in Nigeria. She stressed the urgent need for more radiotherapy machines to effectively combat the disease and deliver timely treatment to patients.

Key Takeaways

  • Nigeria needs 250 radiotherapy machines to effectively address cancer.
  • NICRAT plans to partner with private sector to augment cancer funding.
  • Nigeria has 6 new cancer centers, but resources remain insufficient.
  • NICRAT aims to map cancer, enhance treatment, and establish a cancer registry.
  • Experts stress urgent need for more radiotherapy machines to improve cancer care.