Covid-19 vaccine roll out: PPB, NePICiN, others want cancer patients prioritized

Project PINK BLUE, Network of People Impacted by Cancer in Nigeria (NePICiN), Raise Foundation and Abuja Breast Cancer Support Group (ABC-SG) have called on the federal government, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to prioritise cancer patients in the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. 

This statement was made public during the gathering of cancer patients and survivors to commemorate World Cancer Day recently.  According to Ms Gloria Orji, a 9-years breast cancer survivor and President of the Network of People Impacted by Cancer in Nigeria (NePICiN)  lamented that the  first Nigerian to die of COVID-19 was a cancer patient who contracted the virus, adding that  clearly , people living with cancer and other underlying diseases are at greater risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19. “For this reason, we are calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria and all the relevant agencies to prioritise cancer patients and people living with underlying conditions in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.

Cancer patients should be on the priority list. “Presently Nigeria has over 100,000 cancer patients and over 70,000 die every year. We cannot afford to have more cancer deaths due to COVID-19. Cancer patients are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties and children who still have future and aspirations in life. “In the United Kingdom, cancer patients are on the priority list 6 and in the United States, cancer patients are priority phase 1c. Same is applicable to many other countries. For this reason, the federal government must protect the cancer patients,”she said . Also, Mrs Khadijat Banwo-Fatai, an 11years breast cancer survivor and Board Member, NePICiN & Project PINK BLUE reminded the government that there Nigeria is still lacking in many cancer diagnosis and treatment infrastructures. She explained that there is no positron emission tomography (PET Scan) and Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH Test) in the entire country. 

“For FISH Test, samples are only collected in Nigeria and sent to South Africa for the diagnosis. Due to absence of reagents for tumour marker and bone scans in Nigeria, it takes a one to six months to get these very significant tests done in our country. “PET Scan, FISH test, Tumour marker and Bone scan are vital diagnostic tests used by cancer doctors to care for we cancer patients and to know if there is spread of cancer in any other part of our body. With the unavailability of these tests in Nigeria, cancer patients cannot get better care, as the doctors will be treating cancer partially blindly. Without appropriate diagnosis, cancer treatment outcome will be poor,” she said . 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply