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Wellbeing Foundation Africa to convene new Cancer Alliance to transform cancer outcomes in Nigeria

Toyin Saraki calls for cancer to be prioritised as Nigeria moves towards Universal Health Coverage

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), in partnership with Amref Health Africa and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, will convene a Cancer Alliance during the Summit of the Legislative Network on Universal Health Coverage in Abuja this week. The new Cancer Alliance aims to transform cancer health outcomes in Nigeria, which were found in a WBFA report released earlier this year to be linked to a complete lack of treatment infrastructure. Cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year, with an estimated 102,000 new cases annually.

The Cancer Alliance Stakeholders Meeting, convened by H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder-President of the WBFA, will host high level participants including the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; the Head of Fundraising and Partnerships, Amref Health Africa, Desta Lakew; the Global Head of Access to Medicines, Takeda, Dr. Susanne Weissbaecker; Surgical Oncologist, University College Hospital, Dr. Bolaji Ayandipo; Health Economist at World Health Organisation, Dr. Francis Ukwuije; and other distinguished medical practitioners.

Mrs Saraki commented ahead of the meeting:

“The inauguration of the alliance follows the release by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa in April of its ground-breaking ‘Rapid Assessment of the Prevention and Control of Cancer in Nigeria’ report, the first independent national research on cancer provisions in the country. It found that Nigeria has a severe shortage of health personnel for cancer care, a dearth of specialists in particular in rural communities and a lack of a well-coordinated chain of supply of drugs and the requisite infrastructure. The rate of 80% of patients who are at a stage of advanced disease at time of presentation leaves little hope for many, especially given the lack of functional radiotherapy machines and other tools for diagnosis and treatment.”

“This new alliance will coordinate the transformation of cancer outcomes in Nigeria, which are a blight on our country. Everyone should have a fighting chance of surviving cancer, whether they are rich or poor; or live in cities or rural areas.”

“I am also calling for cancer to be prioritised as Nigeria moves towards achieving Universal Health Coverage. Only with a sufficient cancer treatment infrastructure will ‘Health for All’ become a reality."

I am grateful to all our partners, in particular Amref Health Africa and Takeda, for their continued support towards curbing the scourge of cancer in Nigeria, and to the Federal Ministry of Health for its assistance and acknowledgment of the urgent state of cancer outcomes in Nigeria.”

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