On 31st January 2017, NIOLA Cancer Care Foundation launched its NGO and Awareness Campaign on Colorectal Cancer in Nigeria at Sheraton Hotel in Lagos and everyone who attended had nice things to say about ENIOLA SALU AKINTUNDE, the Chairperson of Niola Cancer Care Foundation. Below is the speech of the chairperson at the event.
It is a great honor for me to welcome you all here today to the launching of the Niola Cancer care Foundation.
It is a day that has been looked forward to with great enthusiasm and optimism that a vision, borne of a desire and passion to contribute in alleviating the lot of cancer patients, by promoting its awareness and prevention, has to the glory of the almighty God become reality. Before I proceed further, permit me to briefly shed light on the entity, Niola Cancer Care Foundation.
The Niola Cancer Care Foundation is a non-governmental organization conceived to create unmatched awareness and prevention of colorectal cancer in Nigeria, while supporting research efforts in finding a cure for the disease.
Cancer care has not been high on the list of government priorities in Nigeria. Very little is being done to create awareness and prevention of the debilitating disease. Much less has been done on establishing excellent treatment centers that can cater for the growing number of cancer victims in the country.
There is no logical data in Nigeria that shows the percentage of people affected by colon cancer, but it is evident that there is an increase due to the new cases now and then according to Globacan in 2012, it was stated that colorectal cancer was the 7th common malignancy in Nigeria. This is quite an underestimation today as we don’t carry out postmortem routinely on dead people. Moreover quite a number of deaths are not reported- Dr. Adedapo Osinowo.
Cancer treatment is expensive. The fragmented nature of private medical care in the country puts a heavy reliance mainly on provision of care services by government facilities which unfortunately currently lack the funding, support and management capacity needed to bring consistent, high quality care to the average Nigerian cancer patient.
Over 50 per cent of all non-communicable diseases are due to poor or sedentary lifestyles of people, including drug and alcohol abuse, bad diet, low stress management and lack of exercise. However quite a huge number of cancer related cases have nothing to do with the aforementioned causes.
In a country of over 170 million people with scanty radiotherapy and screening facilities, the effect of such poor cancer services is devastating. To say the least therefore, cancer care in Nigeria is sorely inadequate and cannot be left in the hands of government alone.
Of primary importance therefore, considering all these, is the screaming need to sensitize Nigerians about cancer generally by creating awareness on it and ways that the disease can be prevented. This is what the Niola Cancer Care Foundation has been conceived to address; to advocate for better cancer care, create extensive awareness about colorectal, while giving support to research efforts in finding a cure for the disease.
THe dearth of information on colon cancer and sheer ignorance about it usually makes it to be discovered late leaving the victims with little or no chance of survival. This can be improved, nipping the disease in the bud by what we are poised to do.
We have a mission to carry our campaign across, Nigeria and to build six screening centres in the geo-political zones in the country and installing screening machines in each, begining with Lagos State.
The Niola Cancer Care Foundation has since 2015 been tirelessly working at creating awareness on colorectal cancer and supporting research efforts at finding a cure for it. The body was actively involved in the successful hosting of the “Guiness World Attempt” of forming the largest human ribbon, a cancer awareness campaign organised by Sebbecly Cancer Care a sister NGO.
In a bid to ameliorate the discomfort of cancer patients while hospitalised, the foundation was able to furnish the patients waiting rooms in the oncology department of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital(LASUTH)last year; a feat that is targeted at every zone in the country. we have also adopted some breast cancer patients with one of them having successfully undergone a mastectomy.
The foundation has an annual outreach programme tagged”spending Christmas with cancer patients when reach out to cancer patients as a way of lifting their spirits and giving the hope in the spirit of the season, providing medical and food deliverables as well as beverages and fruits among others. In the last two years the programme was focussed on LASUTH and recorded resounding success.
More needs to be done and indeed can be done. It was time for a paradigm shift in cancer care in the country to innovative approaches and concrete steps in that direction in order to change the ugly situation.
There is nowhere in the world where caner care is left solely in the hands of government. We all in our own various capacities have our parts to play.
In actualising its mission, the Niola Cancer Care Foundation is calling on corporate organisations, philanthropic bodies as well as well meaning individuals to partner with her in. fighting the cancer scourge.
YES WE CAN DO IT.