Kano state government has awarded a N2. 4 billion contract for construction of a state-of-the-art cancer center at the Muhammadu Buhari Specialist hospital in the state capital. The center is the first of its kind in any public hospital in Nigeria.
The project is coming on the heels of a visit to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, Melbourne, Australia, one of the world’s leading cancer research education and treatment centers, by Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje recently.
Speaking when he inspected the proposed project site, Gov. Ganduje explained that “the project implementation would be supervised by consultants from Varian Medicals (a renown radiation oncology treatments and software maker) to ensure that it is of international standard”.
“It is envisioned that our proposed cancer center would join the league of the MacCallum Center, as one of the few cancer treatment facilities in the world which has a fully integrated clinical and lab program flanking a hospital”.
“High-intensity radiation treatment is involved if the detected cancer is in the advanced stage (depending on the type of cancer).That is why we planned to construct radiation bunkers among other specialized infrastructure we a putting in here”.
“We are concerned about the growing number of cancer patients and the sad fact that many of them cannot access effective treatment, hence suffering and even death”.
“Importantly, because we have the largest population in Nigeria, it implies that the incidence of cancer in the state will be higher than most states in the country”.
“The closest place cancer patients from Kano can get treatment for cancer now is Abuja. With this center at Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, patients can get specialized and cheap cancer treatment diagnosis and treatment, in line with WHO recommendation”.
At the moment, Nigeria with a population of close to 200 million people has only nine Cancer centers and only three are functioning. The country also has 11 cancer registries located mostly on tertiary hospitals across the country. Most of the registries are underfunded and screening program is at minimal level.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive officer of Bico Nigera Ltd., the company handling the project, Engr. Abubakar Kabir stated that the work would be carried out in collaboration with a multinational firm, Varian Medicals, explaining that the project would be completed within 36 weeks from the date of foundation laying.
“Already our three foreign consultants are coming next week so from the day we mobilize to site, it will take us not more than 36 weeks to complete the work, This is a big project that will create at least 150 jobs for medical and allied professionals”, Engr. Abubakar maintained.
Recent statistics released by WHO indicate that over 100, 000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer annually, and about 80, 000 die from the disease, averaging 240 daily or 10 Nigerians hourly, dying from cancer.
Medical experts say that the Nigerian cancer ratio of 4 in 5 is one of the worst in the world.
Ameen K. Yassar
Director General, Media and Publicity,
Government House, Kano