By CHIOMA OBINNA
THE first comprehensive cancer care centre in Nigeria to be known as the Port Harcourt Cancer Comprehensive Care Centre (PHCC) takes off 1st of February, 2013 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Technical Coordinator of the PHCC Project, Dr. Kin Egwuonwu, told Good Health Weekly that the centre, which will be situated on a 50-hectare piece of land close to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, will cost N10 billion.
Egwuonwu who is also National Coordinator, National Cancer Prevention Programme, NCPP, explained that the first phase will be completed within one year and would be launched March 3, 2013 at a Presidential Banquet, while the first set of cancer patients will be admitted February, next year.
He said: “The centre will be developed in five phases with each phase costing about N2 billion. The five phases could be established concurrently given availability of funds.”
Chief promoter of the initiative is Dr. Lulu-Briggs and his wife, Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs who will facilitate the initiative and mobilise support for other partners and sponsors within and outside Nigeria.
He said the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has formally requested major telecommunication companies to create a special common short code so that ordinary Nigerians can make their donations through their mobile telephones.
An interested person who uses the code will have N100 deducted and is pooled for the project. “This short code has already been adopted by Glo, Airtel, and Starcomms, while MTN is working towards its implementation,” he said,
To further create public participation, Interstwich Nigeria has created a platform for Electronic Transfer of funds through the NCPP’s Interswitch Code No 777526. Explaining why the project will be sited in Port Harcourt, he said the facility will serve the entire south south/south east axis of the country.
Egwuonwu reasoned that intensive upgrading of amenities in Rivers State is intended preferred by investors and tourists, including medical tourists of which the PHCC is expected to attract. Special features of the facility include presence of an Oncology Department, admission for treatment and care of cancer patients only, modern equipment including cyberknife, CT Scan, Bone Scan, PET Scans (Positron Emission Tomography), which can detect areas of cancer by obtaining images of the bodys cells as they work.
Quality of staff to man operations at the Centre will consist mainly professional oncologists and trained medical staff.