The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said on Thursday that seven federal teaching hospitals across the country would be upgraded and fully equipped with an oncology centre to manage all types of cancer.
Ehanire disclosed this in Abuja at the commencement of the 2019 Breast Cancer Awareness Month, organised by the ministry in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development as well as an NGO, MedicAid Cancer Foundation.
He said that upgrading and equipping the hospitals would go a long way toward tackling the menace of cancer.
He added that the Nigeria National Cancer Control Plan and the National Strategic Plan for Prevention and Control of Cervical Cancer were inaugurated to guide and regulate all cancer activities in the country.
“Seven federal teaching hospitals have been designated Oncology Centres and are being upgraded with state of the art equipment/machines such as brochytherapy, CT scan, simulators, among others, to manage all types of cancers,” he said.
According to him, the centres will be located at the Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital (UDTH), Sokoto; Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria; and the National Hospital, Abuja.
The remaining centres will be sited at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu; University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin; University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos.
The minister said it was unfortunate that breast and cervical cancers were the most common forms of the disease and had contributed to several deaths in the country.
He attributed the prevalence rate of the disease to lack of awareness, late presentation, and poor health-seeking behaviour.
He noted that financial constraints, religious and traditional beliefs, inadequate experts to manage the disease, and inadequately equipped cancer managing centres had contributed to the rising cases of the scourge.