A multi-billion naira cancer centre, being built at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) will not only save millions of lives but also end Nigerians’ medical tourism abroad, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Ahmed Ahidjo, has said.
The Cancer Center, estimated to gulp about N5 billion will be a first of its kind in Northern, and second to the one built-in Lagos State University in southwest Nigeria.
The four-bunker Cancer Center will however be number one in the country because Lagos has only two.
The federal government of Nigeria had in February 2019 commissioned the first state of the earth public-owned Cancer Center in Lagos state.
Professor Ahidjo said when its construction work finishes, the Cancer Centre which is at the advanced stage of completion would be a referral destination for the treatment and management of cancer patients in northeast Nigeria and beyond.
Professor Ahidjo said the Cancer Centre earns a bragging shoulder for having the newest medical facilities in Sub- Saharan Africa.
Our vision here in UMTH is to ensure that no medical issues are referred to outside the UMTH as the Epic Hospital in the Northeast Region.”
For sustainability considerations, the CMD said all the medical and non-medical staff of the Cancer Centre have since undergone a series of training and capacity enhancement programmes to enable them to hit the ground running once the facility is completed.
A Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Health, Mamman Mamuda, was at the UMTH recently on a project inspection visit and seeing the cancer centre was his major priority.
The Perm Sec said “with what I have seen at the project site, other cancer centres across the country do not have the capacity and are not up to the standard of UMTH Cancer Centre promises to offer when completed.
“I can say without any doubts that the UMTH is ready to stop medical tourism in Nigeria.
To help the hospital effectively operate without usual hitches, Perm Sec Mamuda, the Federal Ministry of health is “already strategizing on how we can incorporate the UMTH to be a beneficiary of the Cancer support fund of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Director of Hospital Services Dr Adebinpe Adebiyi who was in the entourage of the Perm Sec said the Cancer Centre promises to be one of the best in the country.”
“It is beating the trends of other centres before it, and interestingly the
the issue of personnel at the new Cancer Centre is being given a top priority by the Management of UMTH, and as I’m aware the capacity building of the personnel to man the Centre has been completed,” she said.
She also echoed ending medical tourism by Nigerians as one of the direct benefits of the UMTH Cancer Center.
“When we have Nigerians going abroad and meeting fellow Nigerians treating them; why can’t they stay here and treat Nigerians,” she said.
Professor Ahidjo said apart from the four bunkers, the Cancer Center is also designed with two linear accelerators and two brachytherapy.
“The linear accelerators that we have like the nectar infinity are the first coming into Nigeria. The Second one that the Federal Ministry of Health just finished the procurement process for us is called HD Versa and it’s the first coming into Sub- Saharan Africa and it’s the latest approach globally,” said CMD Ahidjo, a consultant radiologist.
He said all equipment installations for the Cancer Centre will commence in two weeks and it is expected to be completed in two months before the Federal Government will decide on a date for the commissioning.
Cancer is one of the killer diseases afflicting many members of the Borno communities and other parts of the northeast region which are the primary area of responsibility of the tertiary health institution.