NMA decries increase in cancer cases, calls for Inclusion of cancer treatment in NHIS


By Chika Onyesi

The Nigerian Medical Association has urged Governments at all levels to as a matter of urgency develop effective cancer prevention and control strategies to reverse the rising trend of cancer among Nigerians.

The urgent call is part of resolutions reached at a national executive council meeting of the association held in Uyo recently.

The council noted that incidents of cancer in Nigeria has greatly increased and is nearing alarming proportions.

NMA President, Dr Francis Adedayo Faduyile, who informed the press of the associations’ resolutions, said a cancer-free society could be achieved through significant action from concerned stakeholders.

‘‘Nigeria’s does not have enough equipment to diagnose cancer, not enough facilities to cater for those who have cancer, we have only about two or three functional radio therapy machines across the country and some people die while they are waiting for treatment’’

The association is also advocating for cancer treatment to be added to the national health insurance scheme considering that chemotherapies and radiotherapies are capital intensive and not many can afford the out of pocket expenditure required.

 ‘‘Once cancer is added to the NHIS bouquet it will ease the amount of money that patients pay to access treatment, we need the government at the NHIS to cushion the effect of the financial burden of patience who have cancer’’

Dr Francis Adedayo Faduyile, NMA President

Dr. Faduyile also noted that the absence of a national policy on mandatory cancer reporting, absence of legislation to curtail exposure to environmental carcinogens including tobacco smoke and industrial pollution, are all factors increasing the incidents of cancer”

‘‘He said Health Insurance is key to providing solution for accessible, affordable and sustainable healthcare delivery for all Nigerians’’

The medical association has also appealed to Governments to ensure that yellow fever vaccine is readily available for the immunization of all Nigerians especially at the epidemic zone.

They want agencies involved in fighting viral haemorrhagic diseases as well as yellow fever to ‘‘work swiftly to curtail the spread and prevent further outbreaks of the disease in Nigeria’’

‘‘The NEC notes the recent outbreak of yellow fever in seven states in Nigeria, namely FCT, Kogi, Anambra, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Edo and Benue, the country has been experiencing sporadic outbreaks of yellow fever since September  2017’’

Meanwhile, cancer and yellow fever are not the only health care challenges the association is worried about.

The NMA’s executive council is concerned that the State Health Insurance Schemes may have been compromised following its activation of very low fees without the input of body of doctors.

“While capitation for NHIS is N750 and we are complaining, some states are paying less than N500 which is not even enough for ordinary diseases not to talk of lab investigations’’ Faduyile said.

They have directed all doctors not to participate in the scheme until there is meaningful engagement between the government and stakeholders on ‘‘workable, beneficial and sustainable terms and conditions acceptable to all parties’’.


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