The cross section of Medicaid Cancer Foundation crew and AstraZeneca team
By Olasunkanmi Onifade
Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF) in partnership with Astrazaneca has unveiled plans to conduct free screening for men with prostate cancer in Abuja and Kebbi.
The Founder of the Foundation, Dr Zainab Shinkai-Bagudu, made this known during the launch of ‘Project Icon’ in partnership with Astrazeneca.
She said the project was designed to deliver free prostate cancer screening to men and train health care professionals on psycho-social support.
” This particular project is a start of a wider project. We hope to initially target 1200 people, 800 in Abuja, 400 in Kebbi and scale up as we go along.
” This is the launch and it is a pilot stage, and this is not the first that we are doing, we have done a lot of programmes for both men and women’s health,” she said.
Shinkai-Bagudu said to achieve the target goal, the foundation intends to work with celebrities, traditional rulers, governments and policy makers.
” We intend to use the programme to increase access to care, early diagnosis, awareness and educate our men in particular about their health.
” We intend to educate them on the causes, early signs and most importantly what to do and how to help them through our partnership with Astrazeneca.
” We hope to reduce the costs of medication and also those who are eventually diagnosed with cancer,” she said.
Shinkai-Bagudu, however, said, the Federal Government needs to partner with the private sector in terms of funding , educating and also having national screening programmes for cancer patients.
She also urged the government to increase the number of radiotherapy machines as the ones available were limited for the number of cancer patients in the country.
“Government needs to work with the private sector to improve health financing, although we are constrained, but cancer treatment should be a priority and brought to front agenda in the country,” Shinkai-Bagudu said.
The Country Director, Sub Saharan Africa, Astrazeneca, Mr Arpit Bansal, said ”the exercise is not just aimed at offering medications to cancer patients, rather to help them in the early diagnosis of the disease.
He said early detection could help aid better care of the disease.
The Senior Programme Manager of MCF, Mrs Hadiza Arome, said that most cancer patients in Nigeria often present to the hospital in very late stages.
She said that the programme was designed to improve treatment outcomes of prostate cancer in Nigeria.
She said the screening mobile van, which was also launched, would comb the corners of Abuja Metropolis, in a bid to sensitise men to partake of the screening.
The Technical Manager of the Foundation, Mr Samuel Alabi said that prostate cancer was the most common and deadly cancer among Nigerian men, and it accounts for over 34,000 deaths annually.
He said the challenges of late presentation and silence among men make intervention challenging, which often results in death.
Alabi said Project Icon-Nigeria was a health intervention project of the Medicaid Cancer Foundation in partnership with AstraZeneca.
“We aim to improve prostate cancer treatment outcomes in Nigeria.
”It is designed to deliver free prostate cancer screening to men between the ages of 45 and 70,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that MCF was conceived in 2009 out of the need to create much needed support system for patients, families and caregivers dealing with cancer in Nigeria.
The founder, who is the First lady of Kebbi, Shinkai-Bagudu, was recently nominated for the first time in Africa as one of the candidates for the President-elect of the Union for International Cancer Control.
AstraZeneca plc is a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, with its headquarters at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, in Cambridge, England.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by AbdulFatai Beki/Bashir Rabe Mani