Pfizer, an American multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation, has disclosed that Nigeria has less than 15 cancer treatment centres and insufficient oncologists.
According to a statement, the company noted that due to few oncologists in the country, it became imperative to install telemedicine to provide and support cancer care.
It stated that Pfizer had installed a Telemedicine Centre at the National Hospital in Abuja, which would greatly address the gaps being experienced by underserved and hard-to-reach patients.
Dr Kodjo Soroh, the Medical Director of East and West Africa, Pfizer, explained that oncology is a key therapeutic area for Pfizer and that the organisation is relentless in delivering medical breakthroughs that have the potential to change patients’ lives significantly.
“With the paucity of medical professionals because of brain drain, leaving only a few oncologists available to manage patients with breast cancer in Nigeria, the need for telemedicine to provide and support cancer care when distance separates cannot be overemphasised.
“The gross lack of awareness and access to treatment centres from the majority of the patients who are rural dwellers makes telemedicine innovation a bridge that can close the care gap in education, diagnosis, and management of breast cancer in West African countries including Nigeria,” he stated.
The Chief Medical Director, National Hospital Abuja, Dr. Mohammad Raji Mahmoud, noted that oncology centres are few in the country with less than 15 centres serving cancer patients in the whole country.
“Of these centres, only five have radiotherapy machines that are owned by the government.
“Out of these five, only the machines at National Hospital Abuja are currently functional.
“In a populous country such as Nigeria, access to care for cancer patients is severely limited", he said.
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