Kano State Government has awarded a N2.4 billion contract for construction of a new state-of-the-art cancer centre at the Muhammadu Buhari Specialist hospital in the state capital.
The centre is the first of its kind in any public hospital in Nigeria.
The project is coming on the heels of a visit to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, Melbourne, Australia, one of the world’s leading cancer research, education and treatment centres, by Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje recently.
Speaking when he inspected the proposed project site, Ganduje said the project would be supervised by consultants from Varian Medicals (a renown radiation oncology treatments and software maker) to ensure that it is of international standard.
“It is envisioned that our proposed cancer centre would join the league of the MacCallum Center, as one of the few cancer treatment facilities in the world which have a fully integrated clinical and lab program flanking a hospital.
“High-intensity radiation treatment is involved if the detected cancer is in the advanced stage (depending on the type of cancer).
“That is why we planned to construct radiation bunkers among other specialized infrastructure we a putting in here.
“We are concerned about the growing number of cancer patients and the sad fact that many of them cannot access effective treatment, hence suffering and even death.
“Importantly, because we have the largest population in Nigeria, it implies that the incidence of cancer in the state will be higher than most states in the country.
“The closest place cancer patients from Kano can get treatment for cancer now is Abuja.
“With this centre at Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, patients can get specialised and cheap cancer treatment diagnosis and treatment, in line with WHO recommendation,” the governor said.
According to the governor, Nigeria, with a population of close to 200 million people, can only boast of nine cancer centres out of which only three are functioning.
He said the country also has 11 cancer registries located mostly in tertiary hospitals across the country.
“Most of the registries are underfunded and screening program is at a minimal level.”
In his remarks, the Chief Executive officer of Bico Nigeria Ltd., the company handling the project, Engr. Abubakar Kabir stated that the work would be carried out in collaboration with a multinational firm, Varian Medicals, explaining that the project would be completed within 36 weeks from the date of foundation laying.
“Already our three foreign consultants are coming next week so from the day we mobilize to site, it will take us not more than 36 weeks to complete the work.
“This is a big project that will create at least 150 jobs for medical and allied professionals,” Abubakar said.
Recent statistics released by WHO indicate that over 100,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer annually and about 80,000 die from the disease, averaging 240 daily or 10 Nigerians hourly, dying from cancer.
Medical experts say that the Nigerian cancer ratio of 4 in 5 is one of the worst in the world.