The Nigeria Medical Association has insisted that there must be government policy in place to assist people with cancer in the country, describing the exclusion of cancer treatment from the National Health Insurance Scheme as a bias against Nigerian patients who could not afford the treatment.
The NMA at its 2018 Annual General Meeting in Uyo Akwa Ibom State, South south Nigeria noted that the exclusion had caused many deaths in the country and increased the number of Nigerians suffering from cancer. Dr. Adedayo Faduyile, NMA president, said the body was concerned about the development, adding that NMA would intensify campaign with the view to pressuring the NHIS and the Federal Government to recognize cancer sufferers in the health scheme.
Also, Ayo Osinlu, NHIS spokesman said the scheme’s pool of fund would dry up if a capital-intensive treatment like cancer was included. He, however, said that the scheme still had provision for cancer patients to an extent.
However, the NMA president has called on the FG to review the Act that established NHIS to save the lives of many Nigerians who are cancer patients. He said the absence of the various machines used in the treatment of the disease in Nigeria made treatment expensive and out of the reach of the patients whom he said were forced to resign to fate because of government’s failure to protect them or support the cost of their treatment. He added that in smaller third world countries, governments had in place policy that helped cancer patients.