Friday, 20 October 2017

Reps Advocate Free Drugs, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy For Cancer Patients

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The House of Representatives yesterday, urged the federal government to provide subsidies for palliative care drugs and chemotherapy for cancer sufferers and also radiotherapy machines for government hospitals.

The decision followed the adoption of a motion co-sponsored by Hon Zubairu Abdulmalik Bungudu (APC0 and Hon James Abiodun Faleke.

In his lead debate, Bungudu noted tha witht the increase in cases of cancer in Nigeria and the attendant heavy economic burden on families and individuals affected by the disease; it was not in doubt that cancer patients go through excruciating pains, while battling with the disease which palliative care drugs can help to ease, if they were accessible.

The lawmaker explained that the hardships and challenges being faced by over two  million victims in accessing chemotherapy given the insufficiency or unavailability of radiotherapy machines which are said to be only seven  in the country, out of which only one is functioning.

“ We are further aware that radiotherapy machines are usually procured from abroad, and therefore accessing the only functioning one in the country is a herculean task for poor victims of cancer who, as a result, are dying prematurely due to lack of proper treatment or alternatively be at the mercy of private hospitals”, he stated.

According to him, most African countries are well equipped to cater for their cancer patients as they have “procured the following number of radiotherapy machines: South Africa 92, Algeria 20, Morocco 28, Tunisia 16, Egypt  76”

Bungudu opined that if urgent steps are not taken to provide radiotherapy and chemotherapy machines in government hospitals and also provide subsidies for palliative care drugs, cancer patients will continue to suffer and ultimately, die needlessly and the government would have failed in its responsibility to ensure the welfare of the citizens as enjoined in section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

The House on Thursday plenary also urged the federal government to provide more resources in the efforts to control Sickle Cell Anemia Disease and support the Non-Governmental and International Organisations towards mitigating the burden of the disease across the country;

This is as it urged the Federal Ministry of Information to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health to commence sensitisation campaigns and public awareness programmes aimed at educating the populace on the management and prevention of Sickle Cell disease.

The resolution was contained in a motion brought by Hon Segun Adekola Alexander.

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