The 2020 Edition of the Annual International Cancer Week powered by the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria kicked off yesterday on the  28th, October with the theme: “Cancer in Nigeria in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond.

Dr Zainab Shinkafi- Bagudu, Board Member, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Founder Medicaid Cancer Foundation, in her message at the hybrid event, commended the ministry of health under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on its plans to resume free HPV vaccinations for adolescent Nigerian girls from the first quarter of 2021, in line with the global Elimination of cervical cancer by 2030.

The keynote speaker for the conference, Prof Folakemi T. Odedina, emphasised the need for more cancer research and trials in Nigeria as a necessity to finding the right drugs and treatment options for African cancer patients.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire,  stresses that a well-thought-out strategy is needed to forestall the growing threat of cancer in Nigeria.

He said reports from Nigeria cancer registries showed a significant increase in breast cancer incidence from 13.7% per 100, 000 in 1960s to 1969, to 24.7 in 1990 -1999 and to 26.1 % in  2000 to 2016.

Dr Ehanire made a call for regular screening.

Similarly, Chairman House committee on health services Hon Yusuf Sununu said the 730M Cancer health fund in the 2020 budget is a landmark achievement of the Buhari administration and called on Nigerians to access the fund. He lauded the Kebbi state Governor Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and his wife Dr Zainab, for their role in ensuring the fund was appropriated in the budget.

Other key dignitaries at the event were the Minister of State FMOH, Senator A Mamora, Dame Paullen Tallen, HM for Women Affairs, Dr, Okpako Okpipi National Coordinator of the National Cancer Control Programme, Prof Ifeoma Okoye, Founder and Pioneer President of the International Cancer Week.

The highlight of the event was the launch of the National Training Manual for

Secondary Prevention of Cervical Cancer in Nigeria by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

In addition to scientific presentations, Free breast and cervical cancer screening by Medicaid Cancer Foundation at the 3day day program.

Jenny Awa

Communications Officer

Medicaid Cancer Foundation