Health minister faults establishment of cancer registry

• as NLC, NCDC, back establishment of Blood Services Commission

The Minister for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has expressed reservation over the proposed establishment of Cancer Registry in the country.

Speaking during a public hearing in Abuja, held at the instance of the House Committee on Health Services, the Minister for Health, Dr Ehanire warned against overlapping functions of Nigeria Institute for Medical Research.

The Minister for Health who maintained that the establishment of a Cancer Registry will be a waste of resource and deepen the rivalry already in the health sector disclosed that the: “Nigeria Institute for Medical Research based in Yaba also has a similar mandate by its enabling Act, therefore, the establishment of another agency of the government to carry out cancer registration shall be tantamount to duplication of duties.

“And it will also lead to unnecessary waste of government resources. Cancer registrars are integral units of tertiary hospitals. Presently there are 33 cancer registries in Nigeria located in tertiary hospitals across the country,” the Minister for Health noted.

However, in his presentation on the proposed amendment on the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Act,  1992, the Minister for Health expressed overwhelming support for the establishment of the proposed blood services commission.

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The Minister for Health said: “I am particularly delighted about today’s event as it marks a big stride towards strengthening the roles and responsibilities of the Agency to provide technical and pragmatic support to States and LGAs on the Development of Primary Health Care in Nigeria which will ultimately improve the overall health outcomes in the country and accelerate our journey towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

“This transformation has expanded the roles and responsibilities of public health agencies globally beyond direct service delivery; to programme management, quality control and standards, performance monitoring, and enforcement.

“It is heart-warming to note that Nigeria has been declared Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free and will be ceremoniously certified free of WPV by World Health Organisation on August 25th 2020.

“This achievement of polio-free status is a hard-won battle spanning over three decades of hard work and dedication of the polio team, partners and donors through the years of the defunct National Programme on Immunization (NPI) to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency established by an Act of 1992.”

Other stakeholders who supported the initiative include Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The bills supported are a bill for an act to amend the national primary Healthcare Agency Development Act Cap N69, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and for Related matters; A bill for an act to Establish the National Blood service commission to coordinate, Regulate and Ensure the provision of Quality blood and blood products and related matters.

In his presentation, NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Waba expressed optimism that with the passage of the Primary Healthcare Bill will strengthening the Primary Health Sector.

On her part, Mrs Blessing Nienge who represented the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. M. N. Sambo supported the ministry and especially the Blood Services Commission.

She said: “The bill has been underscored. The member here gave an experience if what happened to his relative. Most of us have personal experiences.

“The National Health Insurance Scheme is aligning with the three bills and we believe your good works will speak for you,” she said.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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