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The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire accompanied by the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Health on the 13th October 2020 inaugurated 2 Technical Working Groups for both National Cancer Control Technical Working Group as well the Cancer treatment fund.  Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, founder Medicaid Cancer Foundation, is to serve on both. The Committee inaugural meetings which took place at the Rockview Hotels Abuja, had in attendance to serve seasoned medical professionals, oncologists, administrators, survivors, advocates etc.

The Minister while speaking congratulated Dr Bagudu on her re-election to the Board of the Union for International Control, and also expressed the resolve and commitment of the Federal Government to nip cancer in the bud. He said cancer care is an emerging initiative in Nigeria and that advocacy is a cardinal point in the drive to curbing the spread of cancer in Nigeria. The HMOH charged the members of the working group who are celebrated professionals in their respective fields not to relent in this arduous public service as indigent Nigerians will have them to thank for their noble contributions.

The meeting which was earlier declared open by Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, Director Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health, was organized with the core objectives to review the national cancer control plan. Some of these include;

i) Identify implementation status and set targets for intensifying cancer control programme in Nigeria

ii) Inaugurate the updated technical working group as the new steering committee for cancer control in Nigeria, set up working groups for regimen identification and sub-committees

iii) Facil  itate and track execution of activities listed in the pillars of NCCP and related cancer control activities.

It featured deliberations on adopting a multidisciplinary approach in cascading the cancer control plan across various tiers of government, identifying key professionals and training them in oncology, operational personnel management and the need for states to have fully integrated.

Consequently, H.E. Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu emerged as Chairperson of the Sub-committee on advocacy, social mobilization and governance and finance. Similarly, the cancer treatment working group deliberated on how to ensure fast, equitable and efficient use of over N700M budgeted for treatment of indigent cancer patients in this year’s budget.

Both reports will be submitted to the Honourable Minister of Health for subsequent action within a short timeframe.

Also present at the meeting were Dr Okpikpi O, NC/NCCP, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Uche Nwokwu, NCCP/ Federal Ministry of Health, Paulette Ibeka from Clinton Health Access Initiative, Lola Ameyan from CHAI, Kelechi Uzor also from CHAI, Dr Bitrus Deborah Oghoghorie Federal Ministry of Health and representatives from Roche, WHO, etc.

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