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FG asked to include cancer patients in NIHS

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowopejo
LAGOS — Former President of Nigeria Society for Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Professor Muheez Durosinmi, has stressed the need for the Federal Government to include cancer patients into the  National Health Insurance Scheme as a means of reducing the cost of cancer treatment especially lymphomas cancer in the country.

The National Health Insurance Scheme was established in 1999 and  revised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2004 to, among others, cater for children under five, permanently disabled persons and prison inmates.

Durosinmi made the call at the 13th All Fellows Meeting, tagged “Current trends in the management of lymphomas,” in Lagos, weekend.

He said the huge financial back-up required for the purchase of the needed drugs to treat the sickness was one of the major challenges facing the treatment of the killer disease in Nigeria.

Prof. Durosinmi said that considering the cost of the drugs which was just made available into the country by Roche medical company, sold at over N300,000 is very expensive for the common man on the street to afford.

“But if cancer disease is part of the national health insurance scheme, any cancer patient including the lymphoma patients will able to have better treatment because they do not need to dip their hands into their pocket, the insurance companies will pay for the treatment of the sickness.”  Durosinmi said.

He noted that other challenges faced by the specialist in the course of treating the lymphoma cancer is the non availability of adequate Radio- therapy in the country.

He added; “We have only 6.6 percent for a population of about 140 million; it is not enough for the country.”

Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi said that the only way to reduce the price of the drugs is for the government to invest more on research then the price of the drugs for the treatment.

In his comment, chairman of faculty of pathology, national post graduate medical college of Nigeria, Mr. Abdullahi Rafindadi said that with the availability of the drugs in the Nigeria, the issue of people travelling to other countries for treatment on cancer related diseases will reduced.


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