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OPENING ADDRESS BY DR. (MRS) IJE JIDENMA F.IoD, PRESIDENT & CHAIRMAN OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL,
AT THE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SECURITY COMMITTEE WEBINAR
HELD ON WEDNESDAY 22ND JUNE, 2022 ON ZOOM PLATFORM,.
It gives me great pleasure to join the Chairman of the Health & Social Security Committee, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, M.IoD to welcome you all on behalf of the Governing Council of the Institute of Directors Nigeria to this enlightening event. This webinar is part of the initiative of the Health and Social Security Committee of the Institute to promote healthy living for and among members and non-members of the Institute.
The theme of this Webinar, “Prevention and Management of Common Cancers”, is coming at a time when the rate of cancer cases in our country is rising rapidly. The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 reported that 18 million people live with cancer worldwide and that 12.5% of all deaths globally are attributable to cancer. It is alarming to note that these numbers unfortunately have been on the increase, on a yearly basis.
In 2020, an estimated 125,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in Nigeria, with almost 79,000 deaths recorded from the ailment.
Cancer is a public health problem worldwide which affects all categories of persons irrespective of status, age or gender. The reality, however, is that the health systems in many low and middle-income countries are least prepared to manage the disease. Therefore, a considerable number of cancer patients do not have access to timely and quality diagnosis and treatment. In addition, there is also the problem of extreme shortages of facilities, diagnostics services and trained healthcare professionals to manage the ailment.
The most common type of cancer found in the country is breast cancer which kills about half of women diagnosed with the disease. This is immediately followed by prostate and cervical cancer. While many people diagnosed with cancer begin their medical treatment most are forced to stop midway because of the high cost of treatment and care. Infact, some people consider cancer an ‘illness for the rich or a death sentence' because the cost of treatment is exorbitant.
Today, Nigeria can only boast of ten radiation therapy machines across the country, while medical insurance in Nigeria does not cover cancer care comprehensively. This makes it very challenging to keep populations in a healthy state and is particularly difficult for people with cancer or other chronic illnesses.
This webinar is therefore a welcome development. I do hope that pour esteemed panelist will educate our audience on healthy living to prevent this dreaded disease and also provide good alternatives for proper management of the ailment. IT is also important to draw the attention of government, through the various Health Ministries at all levels of government and other related agencies to devise an actionable strategy that will drive a more robust awareness on the dangers of common cancers and how to prevent them.
Ladies and gentlemen let me again thank the IoD Health & Social Security Committee, led by the Chairman, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, F.IoD, for putting this webinar together and bringing in specialists in the health sector who will give us the needed enlightenment and preventive measures we can take to reduce the chance of getting the disease. Let me assure you all that the Institute will continue to support initiatives that will help improve healthcare for its members and for the overall development of the Nigerian economy.
I look forward to an enlightening session and I thank you all for your kind attention.
Dr. (Mrs.) Ije Jidenma, F.IoD
President & Chairman of Council
Institute of Directors Nigeria
Wednesday, 22 June 2022.