Cancer Mostly Affects Low-Income Earners, Women in Nigeria—Survey

By Dipo Olowookere

In 2018 Phillips Consulting (PCl), examined the socioeconomic impact of cancer in an extensive study.

Responses were gathered from thousands of Nigerian Cancer victims or caregivers, family and friends.

In Nigeria, the general media are most often overwhelmed with reports of cancer victims alongside impassioned solicitations for funds for treatment abroad. Today In major cities of Nigeria, it is no longer a strange sight to see caregivers soliciting alms from the general public for people living with this deadly disease.

Several health management organisations in Nigeria do not cover Cancer treatments; neither does The Nigerian National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The cost of cancer treatments in Nigeria ranges from N850,000 ($2,361) and $10,000 (N3,600,000). Due to the masses not able to afford these costs, the number of people resorting to public intervention has constantly increased over the years; this is intuitive evidence of the great socioeconomic burden faced by cancer patients and their caregivers.

The PCL research showed that every year, tens and thousands of Nigerians troop abroad in search of the best and most affordable medical treatments and health care services.

Destinations such as the Middle East, India, Turkey, United States of America and Europe thrive on Nigerian medical tourists.

Cancer patients spend astronomical amounts of money seeking treatment abroad, up to $60,000, excluding other associated financial costs such visa fees, flight tickets, logistics, hotel accommodation and upkeep for the patient and their caregiver.

The high amount of capital flight suggests opportunities for investment along the value chain of cancer management in Nigeria.

The PCL survey showed that Nigerian women and low-income earners were the most affected by cancer, but irrespective of one’s socioeconomic status, the emotional and financial burden of fighting cancer is excruciating.

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015, total deaths caused by Cancer rose by 17% between 2005 and 2015. By 2030, cancer incidence worldwide is projected to rise by 68% to 23.6 million new cases every year.

Cancer was estimated to have caused 8.8 million deaths (one in every six deaths) globally in 2015 and cost the world, in 2010, the best part of $1.16trillion.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world and the most prevalent cause of NCD (non-communicable disease) death after cardiovascular disease.

In 2012, cancers caused 3% of over two million deaths recorded in Nigeria. Guided by insights from the combined health industry, government, NGOs, researchers of all stripes and other interested corporate bodies must provide the basis for effective actions against cancer.

Ultimately, the task of beating cancer requires the combined efforts of all stakeholders.

“We will not only direct our significant research capabilities towards plotting the way forward; we are also prepared to support stakeholders in ensuring the effectiveness of cancer management through the effective project management of palliative programs and initiatives.

“Our extensive knowledge of the local environment also ensures that we are equipped to help local and international organisations deliver sustainable outcomes in their efforts towards combating cancer.

“Though an enormous challenge, our commitment to that task at Phillips Consulting is unflinching,” Managing Consultant at Phillips Consulting, Mr Victor Mbah, said.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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