As part of efforts to discourage Nigerians from travelling abroad for the treatment of cancer, the Federal Ministry of Health is set to inaugurate a first-class treatment centre in January.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this while inspecting the centre at the National Hospital, Abuja.
Speaking with reporters after the inspection, Adewole said the centre would also be open to foreigners but for a higher fee.
He said, “The purpose of the building is to put in place a first-class treatment centre for cancer treatment in Nigeria but our vision is not just to offer treatment to Nigerians but to even people in West Africa and we think what we have on the ground, we should be able to do that and when we offer treatment to non-Nigerians, we will be able to make money to keep the services going and also prevent people going out when such services are available in Nigeria.
“You know the best place to get treatment is among your people. So, we think this will be a great advantage to Nigerians and we are all hoping that at the rate at which the work is going, by January 2, 2019, it will be open to members of the public.”
On how much cancer treatment would cost in Nigeria, Adewole said there was no fixed cost as it varies based on the degree of the illness and the type.
He, however, said the government would continue to revise the cost such that it would be affordable.
Adewole added, “When we started, we were giving 50 per cent rebate which is less than what it would cost for you to fly to India and the cost will be continually revised to make sure that people can afford it. Even when you cannot afford it, we will not deny you treatment but find money to support you.”
According to the minister, the centre has a high energy linear accelerator machine working already while another machine has been donated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited.
“This is probably the only centre in Africa that has two of such machines working that can treat at least 200 people every day,” Adewole said.
On how much the centre cost the Federal Government, the minister said, “The centre costs about N450m and the second LINAC is over $1m so when you look at the project itself, it is over N1bn.”
The Punch News/MedicalWorldNigeria