Elder Statesman and Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdulahi, has called on the Federal Government to come up with a policy to ensure free treatment of cancer, liver and kidney related diseases in the country.
These diseases should come under a national policy where the citizenry is given free medical examination and even treatment.
A press release by the Special Adviser to the Governor of Bayelsa State on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, stated that the NEF Chairman made the comment while paying a condolence visit to Governor Henry Seriake Dickson on the death of his mother, Mrs. GoldCoast Dickson, at Toru Orua on Friday.
Abdulahi said that cancer, kidney, liver and even HIV were among the diseases majority of the citizens lacked capacity to treat and should be handled by the nation’s healthcare delivery system and stressed that the leadership of the Country has no choice than to address the deadly diseases ravaging the citizenry.
The Elder Statesman who was reacting to Governor Dickson’s call for concerted action against cancer said that all levels of government should give priority to the treatment of the terminal diseases assuming a frightening dimension in the society.
He said, “Fortunately for us, you are in government now, a Governor of a state and you interact with governors of other states and as part of your responsibility as governor you also interact with the federal government.
“I lost my wife to cancer of the pancreas and it was misdiagnosed, and of all places, at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital. It took us a trip outside for the confirmation of what it was and it had already passed its early stages. Simple surgery would have taken care of it.
“But what I’m trying to emphasize is that there are certain diseases in this country that there is no choice for us except to address them. I don’t know how many hospitals around here have dialysis machines. Dialysis machines in hospitals outside this country are as many as consulting rooms because dialysis is needed for people afflicted with kidney problems/failures and at its various stages.
“There are certain diseases that you governors must bring forward as a national policy, that people should treat free. HIV/AIDS, cancer, kidney problems, liver failure – these are diseases that most of our people cannot afford to treat.
“We sit down in our various homes to see this. Sometimes you shed tears; even when you try to resist, when you see some of those faces, you break down. And if you can render assistance, you have to do it with whatever means you can because there are certain diseases that our health services must take care of. “
He commended the governor for the decision to establish a cancer centre in honour of his late mother with the objective of fighting the spread of cancer in the society.
He said that the project to fight the cancer scourge, promote awareness and regular and free testing for the disease and others would bring succour to the people affected.
Abdulahi who said he lost his wife to Cancer urged Governor Dickson to interact with his colleagues to intensified coordinated action against cancer and other deadly diseases ravaging the society.
In his remarks, Governor Dickson urged the society to stop blaming deaths caused by cancer on juju and witchcraft. He restated the commitment of his family to establish a cancer centre in honour of his mother to intensify the crusade against the spread of cancer in the society.