By CHIOMA OBINNA
OVER 6,000 children aged below 12 are diagnosed with cancer in Nigeria annually, and the Children Living with Cancer Foundation, CLWCF, an NGO, is calling for free hospital admission and subsidised treatment for such children.
Founder/President, CLWCF, Dr. Nneka Nwobbi, regretted that most Nigerian children living with cancer die due the huge cost of treatment as well as the lack of support systems such as inadequate diagnostic and treatment equipment, poor patient-doctor ratio, among others.
Only 25 per cent of those diagnosed obtain the required follow-up treatment and of the 40 per cent that get any form of treatment, “approximately only less than 10 per cent goes into remission.” Currently, there are no specialised nurses in most oncology departments of health facilities the country.
She said childhood cancer was still largely unknown in Nigeria.
The Foundation is marking the 2012 Childhood Cancer Month with the theme, “Walkathon”, with a three-kilometre run/walk coming up Saturday, September 22, as part of the awareness creation on the burden of the disease in Nigeria. September is Childhood Cancer Month.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, includes childhood cancer as one of the Millennium Diseases even as it sets the goal of reducing it by 25 per cent by 2025 in developing countries such as Nigeria, which has less than 20 per cent cure rate of the disease
Goal is to raise funds for purchase of a Cold Centrifuge with capacity to separate 12 bags of blood at a time.
Participants are to pay a registration fee of N5, 000 for the walk which commences from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, to the National Stadium, Surulere and back to LUTH.