The Federal Government on Tuesday disclosed that no fewer than 100 cancer patients are treated daily at the newly launched Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, LUTH Cancer Centre even as it disclosed that with just N900,000 Nigerians can access treatment for any kind of cancer for a period of six weeks.
Disclosing this yesterday in Lagos during the commissioning of the NSIA-LUTH training and administrative building, the duo of the Ministers of Finance, Budget & National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed and State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora said the centre was established to stem the tide of medical tourism and to address the problem of cancer treatment in Nigeria as well as provide training for the country’s cancer specialists.
Addressing journalists shortly after the commissioning, the Minister of Finance, said various category of cancer treatment can be treated as the centre has deployed high technological equipment.
Stating that treatment was affordable at the centre, she said:” Right now the average cost of treatment for cancer in this centre is N900, 000 and this is for six weeks. The same treatment that you get from our next-door neighbour, Ghana at $10,000, when you get to Europe or the US it will range between $15,000 dollars and $18,000.
This is very affordable. “N900, 000 is still a lot of money to many Nigerians so what we are planning to do now is to have differential charges from people that can afford the treatment and for people that are coming into Nigeria for treatment.
The centre reports that there are citizens from other countries that are coming here to receive treatment. So we will have differential rates and those differential rates will now be used to subsidies for those Nigerians that cannot afford the N900, 000.”
She noted that the Centre would be of benefit to the country as it serves as a cost-saving in terms of foreign exchange and for out of pocket payment for healthcare for the citizens.
Speaking, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, who was excited about the equipment in the centre said: “I am very pleased with what we saw. I commend NSIA and LUTH authorities for this wonderful experience.
Nigerians suffering from one cancer or the other will have no business going abroad again because what they can’t get abroad is already here. Any type of cancer can be managed here especially the common ones that we know like the breast, cervical and prostate cancers, these are the very common ones that afflict our people, again, at a very relatively cheaper rate.”
On affordability, Mamora said “The present administration is very keen on universal health coverage and the basic element in that health coverage is making healthcare affordable to everybody without hardship.
It is also important to say that healthcare provision funds under the law also set aside a very large chunk of funds that will be managed in a manner that will take care of indigent patients, particularly, under the catastrophic fund.”
The Lagos state commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi who stressed the need to replicate the centres in other parts of the country said in Lagos alone, the state needs between 15 to 20 o such centres.
On his part, The Managing Director, NSIA, disclosed that a total of $12 million has been invested in the centre and that it is currently receiving testimonies from Nigerians who have been treated.
Speaking, Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Prof Chris Bode pledged that the hospital would not let those that have invested in the centre down and would provide uninterrupted qualitative cancer care to Nigerians in the next 10 years.