Archives for June2014


HOW WE CAN ESCAPE THE CONTEMPORARY CANCER SCOURGE!

WELCOME TO CECP-NIGERIA'S BLOG

WELCOME TO CECP-NIGERIA’S BLOG

Sunday June I, 2014 was International Cancer Survivors’ Day. It is a day set aside globally, to celebrate all cancer survivors, their families and all those who contributed to their survival (the ‘co-survivors’); a day to show the world that there is life after a cancer diagnosis. It is also a time to stand up for the surviving warriors (those battling with cancer) and to honor the fallen warriors (those who have succumbed to cancer).

This period calls for a sober reflection. While many other nations are celebrating years of improving cancer survivorship and improving quality of life following cancer diagnosis, Nigerians in their hundreds are dying of preventable cancer daily. Neither the prominent nor the wealthy are exempt.

Of late the media has been awash with news of notable Nigerians that have died of cancer across all the regions of the Nation. People of substance, who have played prominent and in some cases sacrificial roles in society. On the 24th of February 2014, while representatives of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria) were at the Nigerian Stock Exchange to mark the International Corporate Philanthropy Day, news came that the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly had just died of bladder cancer.

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Similarly, on Workers’ Day, May 1, 2014, it was a former Deputy Senate President who was reported to have died of prostate cancer. Incidentally. the CECP marked that day by placing the AD below in some National Newspapers.

 

CECP workers day full page-01

The CECP-Nigeria uses this opportunity to pay tribute to these and other Nigerians who have recently fallen victim to cancer; including: Prof. Dora Akunyili, Former DG of NAFDAC & Minister of Information, Alhaji Ado Bayero, the 13th Fulani Emir of Kano, and Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola-Alao, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, who just died of colon cancer.

emir of kano bayero cancer  aare azeez

DORA    Dora Akunyili (2)

It is instructive that each of these national figures received treatment abroad, at late stages that were beyond cure, as there is no adequate infrastructure for cancer care in the country. Alas, Nigeria fails its citizens in their time of need!

However, our greatest concern is for the multitude of unknown and the unsung Nigerians who succumb to cancer every day. Their untimely death is often preceded by prolonged and agonizing suffering, not cushioned by the opportunity of receiving palliative treatment abroad. For if those who could access treatment abroad are dying in such numbers, what is the hope for the silent majority, the over 240 Nigerians that die every day of cancer?!

I am therefore, writing this article with a very heavy heart, a heart weighed down with the constant news of beloved Nigerians dying from preventable cancers. For their sake, CECP-Nigeria will not relent or retreat in this battle. As we often affirm, in this BIG WAR, losing is not an option!

Nigerians, we must wake up to our responsibilities! We must respond to the call to stand for our loved ones!! To stop this scourge!!! To mention just the common cancers, did you know that 30 Nigerian women die every day of breast cancer (a cancer that can be cured if detected early); one Nigerian woman dies every hour of cervical cancer (a cancer that is virtually 100% preventable); 14 Nigerian men die daily of prostate cancer (another cancer that can be cured if detected early); one Nigerian dies every hour of liver cancer (a cancer that is preventable through vaccination); and one Nigerian dies every two hours of Colon cancer (another cancer that is virtually 100% preventable). Surely, these figures are totally unacceptable!

Sadly, out of every 5 Nigerians with cancer, only one survives, whilst 4 die. This is the most unfavourable statistic world-wide. In the specific case of blood cancer, out of every 30 Nigerians (often young adults and children), only one survives.  Meanwhile, at the Tata Cancer Centre in India, the survival rate for blood cancer is 99%. Behold the future generation of Nigeria wasting away from conditions that could be controlled medically. Alas, Nigeria is a nation where wealth accumulates and men decay.

Ten Nigerians die of cancer every hour. Yet, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), one-third of cancers are preventable, another one-third is curable and the last third can have good quality of life with appropriate care. For instance, in the United States of America, cancer used to be a death sentence just like it is now in Nigeria. But today the survival rate of cancer in the USA has improved to two (2) in three (3). Furthermore, the stated target of the American Cancer Society is to improve the survival rate of cancer to 100%, thus making this the last century for cancer in the United States.

To drive the point home, let’s look at some well-known cancer survivors. Nelson Mandela was diagnosed in 2001 with early-stage prostate cancer at the age of 83. He underwent treatment, made a full recovery, and lived until the age of 95 years, remaining cancer-free until the end. Mandela was diagnosed and received all his treatment in South Africa. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother developed colon cancer at age 66 and breast cancer at age 83, but made full recovery from both cancers. She died from old age in 2002, aged 101. Ronald Reagan survived colon, skin and prostate cancers sequentially; after he was treated for the prostate cancer, he declared that he had never felt better in his life. Ruth Ginsburg, the only female judge on the bench of the US Supreme Court, survived pancreatic and colon cancer; during her treatment, she never missed a day on the bench.

Why is the situation different in Nigeria? Why do Nigerians seek treatment abroad and still end up dying from preventable cancers? The truth is that we do not have adequate infrastructure and system for early diagnosis, so cases end up being detected at a time when they are beyond help. Many other countries have invested a lot of funds in cancer research, screening programmes and treatment. In such countries, every sector of the society is involved in the fight against cancer.

In the USA, there are over 2000 mobile health units in addition to 1500 Comprehensive Cancer Centres or CCC (a CCC is a tertiary health institution focused exclusively on cancer care). The American cancer society, a voluntary health organization which played a pioneering role in the fight against cancer in the United States, has three million passionate volunteers, and an annual budget of one billion USD, raised mainly through these volunteers and private philanthropists. No wonder then that there has been a significant improvement in the US cancer survival rate, with nearly 14 million cancer survivors currently in the United States alone and more than 400 lives being saved each day from cancer.

USA

Even developing countries like India, Egypt, Zambia, Mauritania, Tanzania, Pakistan, South Africa etc. have Comprehensive Cancer Centres. In addition to having a world-class National Cancer Institute, as well as mobile cancer units, the Arab Republic of Egypt also has the largest children cancer centre in the world, which was built and is still being sustained solely by donations. India has over 120 Comprehensive Cancer Centres, mostly established with the support of the private sector. Bangalore, an Indian city with a population of 8 million has four CCC whilst Nigeria, with a population of 170 million has no single Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Moreover, there is no full-fledged Mobile Cancer Centre (MCC) in Nigeria.

Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Center-thumb-300xauto-862   tata cancer centre

For this reason, the CECP had set aside the first week of June as National Cancer Week (June 1 to June 8, 2014). As the grand finale of the week, the BIG WAR against Cancer was formally declared on June 8, 2014 during the Banquet of Stars against Cancer (BOSAC) at Eko Hotel and Suite.

 

CECP- NCSD SPEECH BY MAIDEN

 

BIG WAR CECP LOGO

The aim of the BIG WAR is to take cancer prevention to the grassroots of Nigeria. To make this a reality, the CECP is mobilizing Nigerians to contribute towards the acquisition of 37 Mobile Cancer Centres (MCC), one for each State and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The MCC will facilitate the on-going life-saving campaigns of the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP), a non-governmental initiative of mass medical mission (mmm), the first major national effort towards the control of cancer in Nigeria. In spite of its limited resources, the NCPP has been carrying out nation-wide awareness/screening/treatment campaigns since 2007. Over 100,000 Nigerians have been directly screened/ treated so far, and through the awareness being created, the NCPP is helping to protect millions of Nigerians from the cancer scourge. There is an urgent need to scale up this effort.

We must note that a Mobile Cancer Centre (MCC) is NOT the same as a Mobile Mammogram. Rather, an MCC is a clinic on wheels, in which screening, follow-up and several forms of treatment (including surgeries), can take place. It is equipped with facilities for mammography, sonology, colonoscopy, colposcopy and cryotherapy, as well as a surgical theatre. It also has an in-built laboratory for preventive screening against certain cancers like prostate, colon and bladder cancer and other common diseases which are known to increase the risk of cancer. These include malaria, diabetes, hepatitis, kidney disease, hypertension and HIV/AIDS.  Thus the MCC would tackle the double burden of disease i.e. Communicable & Non-Communicable Diseases.

mobile cancer centre

One may ask, why mobile instead of fixed centres? Why not utilize the funds for the 37 MCC to establish a first-class fixed cancer centre, instead?

Indeed, to adequately tackle the cancer scourge and take advantage of all levels of cancer care, we need at least 37 Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs); one fixed Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CCC) in each of the 6 geopolitical zones of Nigeria; and a National Cancer Institute.

However, given the fact that Nigeria does not have the adequate infrastructure to treat advanced cases of cancer, it is important to focus first and foremost on prevention, which is better and cheaper. This approach will prevent most of the advanced cases from occurring at all.

Moreover, there are so many other advantages of mobile over fixed centres; only a few can be highlighted here, namely:

•Accessibility: The MCC will facilitate access to the remote areas of Nigeria. They are tropicalized and customized to operate in our difficult terrains.

•Equity: Unlike a fixed centre which will be utilized mainly by those in its locality, the MCC will help to ensure that no community is left out. When we have an MCC in a State, that State would be subdivided into smaller areas and scheduled over the year, such that every part of the State could be reached at least once a year. This is in line with the declaration by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) that “All people have the right to access proven and effective cancer treatment and services on equal terms and without suffering hardship as a consequence”.  

•Compliance: People are far more likely to comply with their screening and follow-up if these are carried out using MCC. This can be illustrated with the experience of the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP), which carries out cancer preventive services both in its fixed centres and through community-based outreaches. However, statistics show that over 90% of the beneficiaries were reached during the community-based campaigns. Furthermore, because each MCC has an in-built theatre, abnormal cases could be treated on the spot, thereby improving compliance. The MCC would also directly transport referred cases to the referral health centres.

•Cost-Effectiveness: A study by the Harvard Medical School in the United State of America found that for every dollar invested in the operation of mobile clinics, 36 USD was saved in terms of management of chronic illnesses, avoided hospital visits, and prevention of diseases.

We may compare the cost of an MCC to that of a fixed centre; while each MCC costs about 600, 000 USD (95 million naira), all 37 MCC would cost 22.2 million USD (3.5 billion naira). On the other hand, an average Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CCC) costs 63 million USD (10 billion naira). Obviously, the cost of all the mobile units is just a third of the cost of an average CCC. Given our scarce resources, it stands to reason that we should start with the MCC, which also has a wider reach and utility.

Another angle from which we could appreciate the cost-effectiveness of the MCC is to consider the amount of scarce funds that Nigerians spent on medical tourism. According to Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Nigerians spend 200 million USD annually on cancer treatment abroad. With 200 million USD, Nigeria can afford to acquire three hundred and thirty- three (333) MCC per year or to establish three (3) CCC every year! Yet Nigeria does not have any of these!! From the economic angle, the private sector will benefit tremendously through the saving of scarce financial and human resources presently being lost to cancer and other related disease conditions.

Every Nigerian has a role to play in this BIG WAR. We urge philanthropists and Nigerians in general to join in this BIG WAR as donors and volunteers. According to Bill Gates, “you do not need to be the chair of a large foundation to have an impact on the world. Risk takers need backers. Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates. And whether your chief resource is volunteer time or hard-earned dollars, for a relatively small investment catalytic philanthropy can make a big impact”. As Mother Theresa said, “every contribution is a drop in the ocean; but the ocean would not be complete without that drop”.

Anyone may contribute towards the Mobile Cancer Centre project by sending the word ‘CANCER’ as an sms to ‘44777’ at 100 Naira per sms through any of the mobile networks; this sms can be sent as many times and as frequently as desired. Higher amounts could be given via ATM or online at www.quickteller.com using the code ‘777526’. Individuals, families or organisations who donate a unit, could have them branded in their honour. There is no better legacy than to be remembered by posterity as one who brought life and health to the community. Equally, a great way of immortalizing our departed loved ones would be to use their death from cancer as a spring board for saving lives by donating an MCC in their memory. For example, Sir Dorab Tata will always be remembered for revolutionalizing cancer care in India by establishing the first Indian Comprehensive Cancer Centre in 1941, following the treatment of his wife for leukaemia in England (See previous article in the Guardian Newspaper of 30th and 31st of December, 2013). As a closing food for thought we should reflect on the fact that one out of every three persons alive would be diagnosed of cancer. Therefore, it is in our enlightened self-interest to support the BIG WAR in every way we can. This campaign is way beyond a call to idealistic altruism. Our very own survival is at stake. Let’s ACT! Attack Cancer Together! For together we can!!

 

CECP-NCSD

© 2014 Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria)

THE BANQUET OF STARS AGAINST CANCER

CECP- NCSD - ACT

CECP- NCSD- ELDERS

 

CECP- NCSD- AMB OGUNAIKE

CECP- NCSD - AMB OGUNAIKE- DR OMOLAYOLE

 

CECP- NCSD- CONDUCTOR OF MUSON CHOIR

 

CECP- NCSD HOSTSS- PATRICK N PATRICIA

 

CECP- NCSD- NATNL ANTHEM BY MUSON

 

CECP- NCSD PIX MRSADELEKE

 

CECP- NCSD- WELCOMEADDRESS

 

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CECP- NCSD - MUSON IN ACTION

 

CECP- NCSD- SIR EMEKA NWOKEDI CONDUCTOR OF MUSON CHOIR

 

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CECP- NCSD- HONOR OF ALEX IBRU

 

CECP-NCSD= INAUGURATION OF SPECIAL PHIL

 

CECP-NCSD- INVESTITURE OF MAIDEN

 

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CECP-NCSD- DECOR OF EVITA

 

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CECP-NCSD- SOLO BY SEUN- NIG INFO

 

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CECP-NCSD 2FACE AMB OF BIG WAR

 

CECP-NCSD - 2FACE WARS CANCER

 

CECP-NCSD- 2FACE JOINS BIG WAR

 

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CECP-NCSD- STD CHARTERED BANK CHAIRMAN

 

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CECP- NCSD- MAIDEN IBRU

 

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CECP- NCSD- PRESIDENT OF LCCI

 

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CECP- NCSD PIX - CHANNELS INTERVIEW OF CONVENER

 

CECP- NCSD- INTERVIEW OF MRS ADELEKE

CECP- NCSD- GUARDIAN TEAM

 

CECP-NCSD

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