By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday handed over a Mobile Cancer Centre for the diagnosis and treatment of residents afflicted with cancer-related diseases as well as increase advocacy to prevent the spread of the scourge.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who handed over the facility to the representatives of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), a non-governmental organisation in the forefront of cancer awareness, at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, said it was in fulfillment of the promise he made in June 2016 to join the fight against cancer.
He said the Mobile Clinic, the first of its kind in Africa, procured at a cost of N365million was a confirmation of the commitment of his administration to improve on the healthcare system and also give hope to residents who may not have the wherewithal to go for diagnosis and treatment.
“I want to thank the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP). Sometime in June 2016, they did ask me to support issues that relate to cancer, but we decided that we are going to procure this Mobile Cancer Centre.
“What we have that we are donating today to this Committee is a Mobile Clinic that deals with issues that relate to advocacy and treatment of cancer patients because we do not have the financial resources to have Cancer centres placed in all locations in Lagos we decided to go for this Mobile Cancer centre. It’s costing us N365million approximately $1million. What this does is that we can reach out to every community and every cancer patient; we can give hope back to those who are hopeless.
“On a day like this, we extend the commitment of the State Government to the people of Lagos to improve on our health system and also help those that never imagined that there would be hope for them because they have been afflicted with cancer and any other aliment that relates to cancer,” Governor Ambode said.
While congratulating the CECP for their tremendous passion in the campaign against cancer, Governor Ambode said the facility would go a long way to deal with the cancer scourge, adding that the long term plan of his administration is to have e-mobile centres across the State that would aid early detection, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
“I have done this and it is the first in Africa if not in the world because it encompasses all other diagnostics that can bring about cancer and that’s why we are very proud to be associated with this project and we can also say that ultimately we should have e-mobile cancer centres placed all around Lagos, but we just feel by this gesture we would reach out to everyone who have been left behind in the community.
“The operations of this particular unit would be supported by us and then we would support the daily running to ensure that it is on the road everyday looking for cancer patients to bring them back to life. You can imagine the amount we have spent, it is just to bring hope to the hopeless and bring back to those who really need it,” the Governor said.
Earlier, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said in a period where communicable diseases like cancer were fast becoming epidemic, the donation of the Mobile Cancer Centre was a direct response of the present administration to provide a stop-gap.
In her remarks, Executive Secretary of CECP, Dr. Abia Nzelu thanked Governor Ambode, saying that the gesture was a testament to the Government’s love for Lagosians as the donation was also coming on February 14 celebrated worldwide as Valentine’s Day.
“We are indeed grateful for the generosity you have shown and the love and passion you have shown towards the good people of Lagos State, particularly with regards to this cancer menace. We are particularly that this is happening on a very special Day. Today is known as Valentine’s day; a day set aside to celebrate love and indeed, you have shown that to the good people of Lagos in particular and indeed to Nigerians in general,” Nzelu said.
She said the Mobile Cancer Centre, the first of its kind in the world and fitted with digital equipment, would tackle the double burden of communicable and non communicable diseases with specific focus on cancer.