The Federal Government has attributed the inability of Nigerians suffering from cancer to access affordable treatment due to their failure to enrol in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Minister of Health, Khaliru Alhassan, disclosed this at the launch of cancer awareness songs and jingles developed by the Federal Ministry of Health, as part of celebration of the Cancer Day, in Abuja on Wednesday.

He reiterated that as long as cancer patients access care in health facilities that are not subsidised, the cost of treatment for the ailment would continue to be expensive and not affordable to the common people. He, therefore, advised all Nigerians to ensure they take advantage of the various schemes offered by the NHIS and enrol so as to have access to affordable healthcare services.

Represented by the National Coordinator, National Cancer Control Programme in the Federal Ministry of Health, Ramatu Hassan, the minister revealed that government has concluded plans to support all Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and corporate organization in the fight against cancer in the country.

Alhassan regretted that: “People are not agreeing to key into the NHIS and so they keep complaining that cancer care is expensive. It will be expensive if you are not getting rebated for anything that you are collecting from any health facility and rebate can only happen when you are enrolled in NHIS.” “We are there to technically guide anybody who is interested in our effort in the control of cancer. We offer technical assistance. We offer any kind of assistance that is required.

“We can network you as an NGO with another NGO that will assist you to conduct your services for the control of cancer. One thing that we don’t do and we cannot do is that we don’t give cash; we give out assistance in kind from NGOs asking for money. “We feel that a lot of us need more of capacitating technically than giving you money. “We are there for anybody that is ready to come in; we will assist you with resource materials, with advice, with networking and with whatever you need that will be technically possible that will enable you support us in the fight against cancer.”

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