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13th Cancer Awareness 5km Walk organized by Medicaid Cancer Foundation in Abuja

Thousands of people from across the country on Saturday participated in a walk to raise awareness about cancer in Abuja.

They included celebrities from the music and film industry, stakeholders from government and civil society organisations and the general public.

The walk tagged “WalkAwayCancer” was organised by the Medicaid Cancer Foundation and aimed at raising support for cancer patients.

October is also the breast cancer awareness month.

First Lady of Kebbi State, and Founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, called for the inclusion of cancer awareness and screening in primary health care services in the country.

She said awareness about cancer is till poor in the country particularly in the rural areas.

She said, “Majority of Nigerians in the rural areas will still access care from a traditional medical healer before they go to the hospital. So we need to include our primary Healthcare centres in creating awareness and providing screening services for cancer.

“So that our people in the villages can go there when they see lumps , be taught what to do, and most importantly provide them solutions.”

She called on the federal government and relevant health authorities to address inequity in cancer outcomes, adding that health outcomes shouldn’t be based on whether you live in a high income or low income country.

Governor of Kebbi state , Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, said in the last 13 years , advocacy against cancer has increased significantly, as exemplified by Medicaid cancer Foundation.

He said this has led to the catastrophic fund for cancer at the national level by the current administration , and the establishment of the Kebbi state indigent cancer fund and cancer registries and screening services in his state.

Barrister Folarin Aluko, immediate past chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Abuja branch, said the organisation partnered with Medicaid on the walk because cancer is not a respecter of persons, and early detection saves lives.

Dr Aisha Umar, President FCT chapter of the Medical Women Association (MWA) and Director of Clinical Services at the National Hospital , Abuja, said cancer patients account for 40 percent of its patients and that a large number of them present late for treatment .

“If cancer is diagnosed in the first , second stages, the outcome is better , but most times people come in the third and fourth stages and the outcome is not usually good.”