Worried by the huge sum of money Nigerians spend for cancer treatment abroad, amounting to $100 million, the House of Representatives yesterday passed the Bill for an Act seeking to establish a National Cancer Institute for prevention, treatment and control of cancer in the country to second reading.
The bill was sponsored by Sunday Karimi, who represents Yagba/Mopamuro Federal Constituency of Kogi State. Karimi said the institute would serve as the country’s principal agency for the research on cancer related issues.
The lawmaker said the institute would play advisory role to the Ministry of Health on best practices in the management of cancer in Nigeria, noting that the purpose of the bill was to minimise the rate of deaths caused by cancer in the country. He blamed the increasing deaths caused by cancer on ignorance.
He said: “The problem is lack of awareness on the control of cancer. On daily basis, one Nigerian man losses his life because of prostate cancer. “Cancer kills more than HIV and Malaria. However, if detected early, it can be controlled but most cases escalate because of lack of knowledge.
The purpose of this bill is to minimise the rate at which people lose their lives to cancer.” Contributing to the debate on the bill, Muhammed Usman, APC-Kaduna, expressed worry that cancer had caused a lot of havoc in the country and that one cancer treatment machine in the country was grossly inadequate.
The speaker, Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the plenary, referred the bill to Committees on Health Institutions and Health Care Services.