By Oluwafunke Ishola
A non-governmental organisation, Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO), has called on the Federal and State Governments to provide cancer treatment support for indigent individuals due to its high cost of management and treatment.
Its Executive Director, Mr Honestus Obadiora, made the call on Thursday at a sensitisation and awareness rally organised by LAPO in Igando area of Lagos State.
The rally was held in commemoration of the World Cancer Day 2021 with the theme: “I am and I will”.
It marks the end of the three years campaign, which sought to reduce fear, increase understanding and change behaviours and attitudes around cancer.
Obadiora, represented by Mrs Sandra Asowata, Head, LAPO NGO, Western Region, said that the organisation’s awareness was centered on Cervical, Breast and Prostrate Cancer prevention.
”World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.
“The need for improved access to basic cancer screening services across the country cannot be overemphasised.
“The best approach is the integration of cancer control services, including the inclusion of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the routine immunisation schedule at Primary Health Care Centres in accordance with the 2018 – 2020 Nigeria National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP).
”We are also advocating a government policy on cancer treatment support for indigent individuals considering the enormous financial burden of managing the ailment in Nigeria,” he said.
Obadiora said that LAPO was committed to the empowerment of poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria through the implementation of innovative financial and non-financial development programmes.
According to him, the organisation believes that poverty is further reinforced by diseases and vice versa and has, therefore, been involved in community health improvement across the country.
“As a development organisation, LAPO is concerned that cancer is now a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria with over 100,000 people diagnosed every year, of which, about 80 per cent die due to late detection.
”Globally, 9.6 million people die from cancer every year, though, over 80 per cent of cancer cases are preventable with early detection, while 40 per cent of the disease can be eradicated by lifestyle changes.
“In 2016, the LAPO Community Campaign for Cancer Control (LAPO-C4) project was initiated by the Founder toward preventing and mitigating cancer-related deaths in Nigeria.
”The main focus of the project is mass awareness creation, basic screening services for detection of pre-malignant conditions and building referral linkages for uptake of medical services,” he said.
Obadiora said the project was being implemented in collaboration with six Community-Based Organisations across Lagos, Edo, Imo, Abuja and Rivers.
He said between November 2016 and December 2020, LAPO created mass awareness about cancer in target communities across the country under the LAPO-C4 project.
The executive director said the organisation sensitised 83.4 million community members against cancer, screened 38,595 people and referred 26,215 for further screening and treatment in government-approved health facilities.
”We appeal to well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations to support LAPO in the implementation of cancer prevention and Maternal and Child Health projects in the country.
“We need your commitment to create a cancer-free world,” he said. (NAN)