By Chioma Obinna
Disturbed by poor management of cancer patients in Nigeria, wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has lamented absence of a support system for cancer patients, particularly, breast cancer patients across the country.
Anyanwu-Akeredolu who has survived breast cancer for 20 years, noted that the dysfunctional state of the country’s health system when it comes to breast cancer is worrisome.
She spoke in Lagos at a media launch of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, BRECAN, Lagos Chapter noting that it is heartbreaking to see many women suffer pain and hopelessness when diagnosed with breast cancer.
Overwhelmed with emotion while listening to the testimony of a breast cancer survivor at the event, she said; “It breaks one’s heart when you know that there are lots of women out there, experiencing breast cancer and they are not sure whether they will make it.
“They have no money to access care and even when they have it, on getting to the hospital, the Radiotherapy machine is not working.”
She queried contributions of pharmaceutical companies and other corporate organisations in the country, adding that abroad, even pharma companies that also operate in Nigeria contribute to treatment of cancer patients.
“What are the pharmaceutical companys in Nigeria doing? The dysfunctional state of our health system most especially when it comes to breast cancer is worrisome. The government, the society at large, have failed us totally.
“With a population of about 200million people, we have seven radiotherapy machines and they are not working. So what are you telling the people? Simply – go home and die and this is unacceptable.”
She further called on Nigerian women to join hands to fight the common enemy, breast cancer, adding that awareness was key in reducing the incidence.
“I think it behooves on women to join BRECAN in this cause. It is our burden. We want more women to be part of this cause. If we really want to fight breast cancer, awareness is the entry point,” she added.