BY CHIOMA OBINNA & GABRIEL OLAWALE
…To alleviate pains of cancer patients
Worried about the excruciating pains experienced by cancer patients, Federal Government has announced plans to commence production of liquid morphine at the Federal Pharmaceutical Laboratory, Yaba Lagos.
Morphine is an active ingredient in many different prescription medications. It is especially useful for “palliative care” (pain relief for people who are dying), as it helps relieve shortness of breath often experienced near the end of life.
Meanwhile, National Cancer Prevention Programme, NCPP, is targeting 10,000 Nigerians for free cancer screening in Benin City as part of activities to mark World Cancer Day.
Making the announcement in Lagos, through the Director of Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Pharm Abisola Akinbisehin, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu also disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Health has commenced decentralization of its medical stores among the six geopolitical zones of the country for easy access to morphine.
Chukwu said: “Although we know that cancer patients most times do not survive but we should not allow them to die in pain”.
Chukwu noted that “apart from prevention, early detection and legislation to put cancer in the front burner, there is also the need to ensure palliative care for these patients and that is why we are refurbishing the Federal Pharmaceutical Laboratory Yaba Lagos”.
He explained that production of liquid morphine would not only alleviate the excruciating pains experienced by cancer patients and other diseases like HIV as well as traumatized patients with non-communicable diseases but will make the product cheaper and available in the country.
He recalled that before now, the Oshodi medical stores had remained the only outlet where any body could get powdered morphine. “Now, we are decentralising the stores in all the six geopolitical zones of the federation. Already Abuja has started.
Meanwhile, the National Cancer Prevention Programme, NCPP, is targeting not less than 10,000 people for free cancer screening and treatment in Benin, Edo State.
In a statement signed by its Lagos State Coordinator, Dr. Abia Nzelu, the week-long free mass cancer screening and treatment, including cervical and breast cancer screening for women as well as prostate cancer screening for men which began yesterday was in line with the theme of this year’s World Cancer Day, “Did You Know?”.
Nzelu who also explained that NCPP will be disseminating free cancer facts to demystify cancer in Nigeria for a three-week period from World Cancer Day to the International Corporate Philanthropy Day, ICPD.
According to him, “cervical cancer kills one Nigerian woman every hour; breast cancer kills over 10, 000 Nigerian women every year while prostate cancer kills 14 men every day in Nigeria. Most of these deaths can be prevented through awareness and screening/early detection.