Cancer Lawmakers seek free drugs, chemotherapy for patients

Bungudu decried the hardships and challenges being faced by over two million patients of cancer in accessing chemotherapy.

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Unlike a traditional vaccine that prevents disease, the aim of NeoVax, an experimental skin cancer treatment tailor-made to target a particular patient's tumours, is to prevent cancer from recurring in patients whose tumours have been removed play

Unlike a traditional vaccine that prevents disease, the aim of NeoVax, an experimental skin cancer treatment tailor-made to target a particular patient's tumours, is to prevent cancer from recurring in patients whose tumours have been removed

(AFP/File)
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The House of Representatives on Thursday urged Federal Government to provide subsidies for palliative drugs and chemotherapy for cancer sufferers.

It also called for the provision of radiotherapy machines for government hospitals.

This was sequel to a motion by Rep. Zubairu Bungudu (Zamfara-APC) and Rep. James Faleke (Lagos-APC).

Moving the motion, Bungudu expressed concern over increasing cases of cancer in Nigeria and the attendant heavy economic burden on families and individuals afflicted by the disease.

He said that it was not in doubt that cancer patients went through excruciating pains while battling with the disease, adding that palliative drugs could help to ease the pain, if accessible.

Bungudu decried the hardships and challenges being faced by over two million patients of cancer in accessing chemotherapy, given the insufficiency of radiotherapy machines said to be only seven in the country.

He alleged that out of the seven machines, only one was functioning.

Radiotherapy machines are usually procured from abroad, and therefore accessing the only functioning one in the country is a herculean task for poor patients of cancer.

“As a result of this, many of them are dying prematurely due to lack of proper treatment or alternatively be at the mercy of private hospitals.’’

According to him, most African countries are well equipped to cater for their cancer patients as they have procured the following number of Radiotherapy machines: South Africa, 92; Algeria, 20; Morocco, 28; Tunisia, 16 and Egypt, 76.

Bungudu stressed that if urgent steps were not taken to provide radiotherapy and chemotherapy machines in government hospitals and provide subsidies for palliative care drugs, cancer patients would continue to suffer and die needlessly.

He said with this, the government would have failed in its responsibility to ensure the welfare of the citizens as enshrined in section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.

Similarly, the house urged the Federal Government to provide more resources in the efforts to control Sickle Cell Anemia in the country.

It also urged the government to support the Non-Governmental and International Organizations towards mitigating the burden of the disease across the country.

This followed a motion by Rep. Segun Adekola (Ogun-APC).

The house equally urged Federal Ministry of Information to liaise with Federal Ministry of Health to commence sensitization to educate the populace on management and prevention of Sickle Cell.

The motions were unanimously adopted by members when put to voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

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