Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, Health Minister

FG sets up committee to implement cancer health fund


The Federal Government of Nigeria has taken a significant step towards enhancing cancer care by setting up a committee to implement the Cancer Health Fund (CHF).


The initiative, spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Health, aims to provide cancer treatment to indigent Nigerians while strengthening national cancer care infrastructure.

Dr Usman Aliyu, Director-General of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT), announced this during an interactive session organized by NICRAT in collaboration with the International Society of Media on Public Health in Abuja.

The CHF commenced in 2021 and initially involved six pilot hospitals across Nigeria.

The following hospitals are included: Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Zaria, National Hospital in Abuja, University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Benin City, Federal Teaching Hospital in Gombe, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, and University College Hospital in Ibadan.

The government allocated N200 million in the 2024 appropriation act to treat indigent cancer patients under the CHF.

Despite the progress made, Dr. Aliyu highlighted the challenges faced by the CHF committee, particularly in areas such as enrollment, visibility, transparency, and monitoring and evaluation.

He said efforts are underway to address these challenges, including implementing a patient-navigation and referral system to improve accessibility.

”Moreover, plans are in place to increase the funding for the CHF in the coming years, focusing on allocating resources for childhood cancers.

”Additionally, efforts are being made to establish a centralized standard national cancer registry and data plan in Nigeria, which is lacking due to funding constraints,” he added.

Dr. Aliyu commended President Bola Tinubu for his role in establishing NICRAT, emphasizing the institute’s mandate to guide scientific advancements in cancer prevention, treatment, and care.

Ayodele Obaro, Chief Operating Officer at Stephen James Healthcare Limited, emphasized the need for oncology nurses in cancer treatment, highlighting their role as essential healthcare team members who provide holistic care and support to patients and their families.

Recall that the Federal Government recently pledged to finalize the construction of six state-of-the-art cancer treatment centres across Nigeria within the next two years.

Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare Ali Pate reaffirmed this commitment during an interview on Channels Television recently.

With a budget allocation of N37.4 billion to the Federal Ministry of Health, he said the government aims to bolster access to oncology care across various regions.

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