By Etop Ekanem
FORMER Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), has challenged the 36 state governors to provide their counterpart funds to the National Cancer Prevention Programme, NCPP, in the efforts to prevent and fight cancer scourge, even as he donated N83 million to NCPP.
The donation was made in Lagos, Monday in fulfilment of his pledge as chairman and chief donor during the International Cancer Awareness Dinner in Abuja in March, as part of the amount needed to build and equip cancer screening centres in all the 36 states of the federation and Abuja.
Speaking, Gen. Danjuma said he made the donation on the condition that the amount would only be disbursed after the 36 states of their federation had provided the counterpart fund which is two-third of the amount needed to buy equipment for detection and treatment of cancer to avoid early death.
On his part, Vice-Chairman of the Governing Council of the Mass Medical Mission, MMM NCPP, a faith-based, non-profit, non-denominational and non-governmental organisation promoting holistic healthcare, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, said N250 million would be needed to buy screening equipment for the centres in all the 36 states and Abuja.
According to him, â€œGeneral Danjumaâ€™s donation is one third of the total amount needed while the governors are expected to provide the remaining two-third equivalent to N167 million. The screening centres will be able to screen the four most important cancers affecting Nigerians namely, cervical. breast, prostate and colon.â€
National Co-ordinator of the programme, Rev Canon Kin Egwuonwu,Â said the â€œ10 commonest cancers kill 400,000 Nigerians yearly of an affected 500,000 persons mostly due to late diagnosis and unavailability of screening.
â€œThe low life expectancy rate of 44 years in Nigeria can be attributed to cancer because it is about the single largest contributor to deaths.â€