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Cancer: FG to launch national registry to combat rising cases 

The Director-General of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT), Dr. Usman Aliyu has revealed plans to establish a comprehensive national cancer registry and data system in a bid to address the escalating challenge of cancer in Nigeria.  

Speaking in an interview with the newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, Dr. Aliyu emphasized the critical need for a centralized registry to make cancer a notifiable disease.  

He highlighted that lack of funding from government and private health facilities has hindered the establishment of such a registry, thus impeding national planning efforts against the disease. 

To tackle this issue, Dr. Aliyu disclosed that NICRAT is forging partnerships with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to train frontline health workers on basic cancer screening techniques.  

This initiative aims to promote early detection, ensuring timely referrals and establishing grassroots-level cancer registries. 

Dr. Aliyu stressed the importance of prevention as the cornerstone of cancer care, advocating for comprehensive public education on cancer risk factors.  

He lamented the lack of awareness among Nigerians about the causes of cancer, attributing it to inadequate education and documentation. 

Addressing the implementation of the Cancer Health Fund (CHF), Dr. Aliyu revealed the establishment of a cancer health committee to oversee its conceptualization and execution.  

He highlighted challenges related to enrollment, visibility, transparency, and accessibility, emphasizing the need for improved funding and stakeholder engagement. 

Despite the allocation of N200 million to the CHF in the 2024 budget, Dr. Aliyu acknowledged the need for increased funding in subsequent years, particularly for childhood cancer cases gaining momentum. 

Established through the NICRAT Establishment Act 2017, the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment aims to provide leadership in cancer research, treatment, and control in Nigeria.