By Justina Auta
The Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mohammed Sambo says plans are underway to establish a National Catastrophe Fund to expand benefit packages for cancer patients.
Sambo, made this known at an event to mark the World Cancer Day celebration organised by an NGO, Medicaid Cancer Foundation in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, the agency was trying to expand innovative finances through the establishment of the National Catastrophe Funds, which would contribute immensely to the treatment of cancer.
“We have looked at benefit package in NHIS, we have provision for some level of drugs we have for cancer treatment and the benefit package and even radiotherapy one cost of the radiotherapy package is included in the benefit package for NHIS.
“And we are trying to expand it through innovative finances which has to do with establishing National Catastrophe funds that will allow contribution for the treatment of cancer because the funding from the NHIS will not be sufficient to cover all the cases of cancer among our enrollees,” he said.
The NHIS boss said that even though, the catastrophe funds was yet to commence, the agency would ensure that it is properly monitored and evaluated to ensure that the aim is ultimately achieved.
Mrs Zainab Bagudu, the founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation and wife of the Kebbi state governor, stressed the need for people to engage in self-examination, cancer screening for early detection of cancer.
Bagudu reaffirmed the commitment of the foundation towards assisting cancer patients and survivors with the care and treatment.
She, further commended government for providing radiotherapy machine in some centres, which had reduced the need for people to travel outside the country to seek the medical services.
Also, Dr Kamaludeen Jimoh, a radiologist at the National Hospital, Abuja encouraged cancer patients to have hope and not relent in accessing care and treatment.
Jimoh, also encouraged them to engage in the support group for cancer survivors to enable them interact more with other patients, experts and support system.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that cash and gift items were donated to some cancer patients and survivors at the event.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body which develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working.
It is a situation where old cells refuse to die, and instead, grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells and the extra cells may form a mass of tissue called tumour.
World Cancer Day is an international day marked on Feb. 4, to raise awarenss of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment. (NAN)