About 34 oncology pharmacists in Nigeria are to be trained by a Non Governmental Organisation – Project PinkBlue in partnership with a United States agency- Fulbright Specialist.
The Oncology Pharmacists, who provide evidence-based, patient-centered medication therapy, management and direct patient care for individuals with cancer, including treatment assessment and monitoring for potential adverse drug reactions and interactions are trained on up-grade of oncology under the U.S.- Nigeria Science and Technology Exchange Programme.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, President, Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners Association of Nigeria, Mrs Ramatu-Masud Alabelewe, said that the training was put together in an effort to increase the knowledge of the medical personnel in the area of cancer care in the country.
Alabelewe said high cost of cancer therapy, limited access to fund and inadequate training for health workers are the major challenges to cancer care in Nigeria.
The idea of the training, she said, came up after reviewing the spread of cancer cases, how to stop infection, and improve the general well-being of cancer patients in the country.
“Since 2013, Project PINKBLUE has been active in cancer issue in Nigeria, we have done a lot of project, create awareness, conduct screening, response to patient and conduct of research, we have work with a lot of stakeholders.
“Since 2013 Project PINKBLUE initiated the upgrade of the oncology programme in response and to find a way of improving the capacity of the oncology workforce in different areas in partnership with stakeholders and ministry of health.
“Also in 2018, we focus on medical training of oncology in Nigeria and we trained 44 oncologists along with stakeholders with the partnership of the Federal Ministry of Health.
“We are convinced that this upcoming training will bring about access to quality care on cancer,” she noted.
Meanwhile, on of the facilitator, Mrs Cindy Bryant, University of Colorado, USA stated that most cancer patients in Nigeria lacked regular treatment, adding that, there are critical point of patient that needs the service of oncology.
Bryant who identified part of Nigeria’s challenges for effective treatment of cancer as inadequate equipment, said there were so many resources missing in Nigeria including equipment for the treatment of cancer.
Also Speaking, Mr Donald Harvey, also a trainer from Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia, said the trainers were in Nigeria to lend a hand to enable the oncologist pharmacists deliver very well on cancer patients.
Harvey said they would also train, educate and create a relationship atmosphere and prepare the pharmacists for decades to come for the care of cancer in Nigeria.
“Cancer issue takes investment, it takes infrastructure, US government has been critical for that to happen, I believe in the inspiration, the desire in Nigeria at present,” Harvey said.
Miss Gloria Okwu, a breast cancer survivor, who is also the Project PINKBLUE Coordinator, said that government was not doing enough on cancer issue in the country.
She said that if government was doing enough about cancer, there would be no need to have NGO, as NGOs were out to complement government’s efforts in the areas of policies and programmes.