Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, Founder Medicaid Cancer Foundation and First Lady of Kebbi State was on the 6th October, 2020, re-elected into the board of the Union for International Cancer Control for another two year term. The child’s care specialist who is also a loud voice in the cancer space in Nigeria and across Africa, has over the years led the fore in creating awareness on cancer, sensitization, advocacy and subsidizing cancer screenings and treatments for patients, in a bid to improve cancer control and engage governments to make Cancer Care a priority in Africa.
Cancer accounted for an estimated 9.6 million deaths globally in 2018. However, 30 – 50% of cancers were preventable and another 30% of the death avoidable by early detection, diagnosis and treatments. It is sad to know that more than two thirds of these deaths occurred in low- and middle- income countries, especially Africa which has one of the highest cancer death rates.
The election was contested virtually as a result of the Covid19 pandemic by 22 candidates across six continents. Her Excellency Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu who previously served as Director from 2018-2020 was re-elected to serve a second term. She will be working alongside the President of UICC and other board members to accelerate action towards cancer care and control globally.
Speaking after her re-election, Dr. Shinkafi Bagudu said, “My re-election is a win for all. It is an opportunity to improve cancer control in Sub-Saharan Africa. I will build on my current strengths and mobilize more government across Africa and Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) to make measurable commitment to cancer control”. She further disclosed the success and widespread acceptance of the recent African Cancer CEO summit she coordinated for the Federal Ministry of Health was testament to the fact “Africa needs global platforms to amplify our issues”. She therefore reiterated her commitment to galvanizing global resources to build a multi-sectored consortium in order to develop more effective cancer control programs across Africa.
Dr. Shinkafi Bagudu pledged to hold steady the torch for cancer care advocacy, continue to push the frontiers of universally inclusive cancer health policies, and help further the cause of indigent underserved cancer patients and their care givers to increase access to cancer treatment and improve their chances of survival.
Preceding her re-election, Dr. Shinkafi Bagudu had worked with UICC and WHO under the global strategy to ensure that the global inequity in access to cervical cancer care is closed, worked with the Nigeria’s Federal Government to provide financial access to over 10,000 indigent cancer patient in Nigeria. She championed and advocated for the creation of a cancer registry and a costed state cancer control plan in her home state of Kebbi, engaged and collaborated with over 10 First Ladies to mobilize action in cancer control to impact over 50 million people in Africa. She has for years led Nigeria’s largest breast cancer walk through her Medicaid Cancer Foundation, providing free cancer screenings to over 20,000 women yearly, raised over $100,000 every year for indigent patients and led advocacies with other cancer control advocates that resulted in the Nigerian President signing a bill to establish the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment.