While the rest of the world is breaking new grounds in innovations and research in the treatment of cancers, Nigeria is still contending with the challenge of equipment, even for the treatment of cancers.
Cancer patients from all over the country, yesterday at the National Hospital, Abuja, protested the lack of equipment in hospitals across the country, and the malfunctioning of the only one available at the hospital.
According to LEADERSHIP Report, One of the visibly angry patients, Mr Tom Ugah, who came all the way from Cross River State to access care at the hospital said that he has been at the hospital for six weeks and was supposed to have 30 shots of treatment but has had 15 so far because of the frequent breakdown of the machine.
He said, “The UPS of this one was burnt and they used generator but the generator cannot carry it. So we are appealing that they should bring more machines, buy a new UPS so that patients can be treated.”
The 57 year-old who suffers from prostate cancer, said they have been talking with their physiotherapist directly, who assured them of passing their message across to the management of the National Hospital, Abuja, but up till now, they are yet to get response or see improvement in the radio therapy machine.
Ugah, who added that the break is giving him a negative effect, wailed, “ I am a sick man, and am dying too.”
Another victim, Mrs Dorcas Denene suffers from breast cancer and came from Benue State to access care at the hospital.
Speaking on her behalf, her daughter, Mrs Grace Zebete said she started the treatment on the 4th of August and was supposed to take about 22 shots but she was only given 17. She said the reasons being proffered by the management of the hospital is power failure and breakdown of UPS, without anything being done about it.
According to Zenete, the lack of treatment has affected her mother so much so that she constantly complains of pains on her body.
“This is a national hospital so we need more machines in this hospital than other hospitals. If the machines were more, it would have been better for us. We come early in the morning and we stay long hours before we are attended to. At times, we stay up to 7 or 8 pm before it gets to our turn.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Ezinna Osike has appealed to the federal government to come to their aid, saying, “My anger is not with the National Hospital but rather with the federal government. Nigeria has 36 states and you know the population and so many people are passing through the same trauma. So there’s no way one radiotherapy machine will be serving the whole federation. That is why people are dying. Its not that cancer kills instantly but its because people are not getting enough machines for treatment.”
An indigene of Abia State, Osike who suffers from breast cancer, said she was referred from UBTH to UCH and from there to National Hospital, Abuja. She said the machines were said to be all faulty, saying, “Our president, we need more machines in all the geo-political zones so that people can have access to them.”
In his reaction, the Head of Department, Information Management of the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr Tayo Haastrup, denied that the only radiotherapy machine in the hospital has broken down.
“They should be grateful to the National Hospital. Out of all the hospitals across the country, its only this one that is functioning,” he said.
Though efforts to reach the director, Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health was met, she told LEADERSHIP as at the time of filing in this report that she was in a meeting with the permanent secretary.
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