By Hassan Zaggi
The wife of the Kebbi State Governor and Founder, Medicaid Cancer Foundation, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, has insisted that early detection of cancer is the only way of reducing mortality from cancer related causes.
She, therefore, appealed to all Nigeria to embark on regular screening of cancer so as to detect the illness early and access the needed treatment.
Dr Shinkafi who made the appeal while responding to questions from journalists at a cancer awareness campaign organized by Medicaid Cancer Foundation in commemoration of the World Cancer Day, said that she is encouraged by the level of investments the federal government is making in the area of cancer care in the country.
“What we are emphasizing now is early detection. We find that in low income countries like ours, prognosis and outcome is poor because we don’t pick it up early. The natural build up of our people is not strong and healthy. They have not had their immunization, they haven’t been eating health food, more and more we are adopting a westernized life-style, no exercises, we go about in cars, our children don’t play around in the field.
“We have poor detection and there is poor screening system. We detect it in stage three and four as opposed to industrialised countries where detection is as early as stage one and two.
So, when we pick it early, it makes sense that the treatment will be easier and more successful.
“So, we are emphasizing awareness and these are low hanging fruits and that we can do easily without spending millions to achieve. My message is always early detection,” she said.
Speaking on the essence of the Cancer day commemoration, Dr. Shinkafi said: “The 4th of January is a date set aside by health authorities globally as World Cancer day and it is marked all over the world.
“Today, what we have chosen to do for the first time in the city of Abuja is to light up the Abuja City Gate orange and blue which are designated colours to create awareness on cancer as a disease.”
Speaking earlier, the governor of Kebbi State, Shinkafi Bagudu, applauded President Muhammadu Buhari and his wife- Aisha, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole and other top government functionaries, who, according to him, supported the appointment of Dr. Zainab Shinkafi as a member of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
He noted the cancer awareness campaign organized by the Medicaid Foundation over the years has brought what he called a revolution in cancer awareness in the country.
He advocated for the inclusion of cancer treatment in the National Health Insurance and the screening and diagnosis of cancer at primary healthcare level.