New Policies for Cancer Care in Nigeria to Empowering Cancer Survivors

by Ikem Emmanuel

The Federal Government of Nigeria is taking a significant step forward in addressing cancer prevention and treatment by introducing new policies, one of which includes dedicated support for cancer survivors. Dr. Usman Aliyu, the Director-General of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT), revealed this important development in a recent interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

The new policies, set to be inaugurated soon, are part of a broader effort to enhance cancer prevention, treatment, and research in Nigeria. Dr. Aliyu explained that these policies aim to put cancer-related issues at the forefront of the nation’s healthcare agenda.

One of the most notable aspects of these policies is the inclusion of support for cancer survivors, which is a significant step forward in providing holistic care to those who have battled cancer. Dr. Aliyu emphasized that survivorship is an area that has been somewhat neglected in the past, and it’s crucial to address the needs of those who have conquered this formidable disease.

In addition to support for survivors, the NICRAT has collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to develop the nation’s first National Cervical Cancer Control plan for 2023-2027. This plan is aligned with WHO’s goal of eliminating cervical cancer by 2030, and it outlines the strategies that Nigeria will adopt to work toward this objective.

Furthermore, as a research institute, the NICRAT recognizes the importance of having a well-defined research agenda. Dr. Aliyu revealed that the institute has created the first National Cancer Research Agenda for Nigeria for the years 2024-2028. This agenda will provide a clear direction for cancer research in the country, facilitating efforts to better understand and combat this complex disease.


These initiatives will be formally launched during the 2023 International Cancer Week, scheduled from October 23 to 26 in Abuja. The event’s theme, ‘Addressing Cancer Care Disparities through Research and Improved Access to Treatment,’ highlights the global focus on reducing disparities in cancer care.

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Dr. Aliyu explained that there are significant disparities in cancer care, including factors like race, ethnicity, and tribal differences. It is crucial to bridge these gaps to ensure that all individuals receive equitable access to quality cancer care.

The world is facing a growing cancer burden, with millions of new cases and deaths reported each year. This is particularly true for low and middle-income countries, including Sub-Saharan Africa, which is experiencing a rising cancer crisis. The new policies and initiatives by the Federal Government of Nigeria represent a proactive effort to address this challenge and improve cancer care and research in the country.

As the world grapples with the increasing prevalence of cancer, Nigeria’s commitment to these policies offers hope for a brighter future in the battle against this complex disease. By focusing on survivorship, cervical cancer control, and research, the nation is taking vital steps toward comprehensive cancer care and reducing disparities in cancer outcomes.

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