By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives has passed through second reading a bill for an act to establish cancer registry, to make provision for the compilation of a statistical record of the incidence of cancer; to provide a basis for direction of programmes for research and for cancer prevention and related matters.
The bill, sponsored by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai was unanimously passed at Wednesday plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
The bill when will “provide a platform for information gathering on the mortality rate of cancer disease and a basis for compilation of statistical record of incidence of cancer in the country”.
The further check to “provide a direction of cancer survival studies and research programme and information on the personal, clinical and pathological characteristic of cancer in Nigeria”.
Similarly, “the centre will provide vital statistics on the type of cancer seen in that environment including the topography, age and sex distribution, and possibly typical outcomes for affected individuals”
Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, Ossai disclosed that Nigeria presently records an estimated number of 102,000 of new cases of cancer annually, out of which about 80,000 die.
He observed that breast and cervical cancer are the two most common types of cancer responsible for approximately 50.3 percent of all cancer cases in Nigeria.
The lawmaker noted that as a result of the recent negative consequences of cancer disease in Nigeria, the federal ministry of health in 2009 collaborated with Society of Oncology and Cancer Research of Nigeria and the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria, which led to the formation of Nigeria National System of Cancer Registration.
He said since inception, the Nigeria National System of Cancer Registration has been able to revive national consciousness in cancer registration and presently over 30 cancer registries have been established in the country without the federal government having a national office to collate and record information on the incidences and mortality rate of cancer in Nigeria.
Ossai further lamented that “as at today in Nigeria, there is no legislation that gives full effect to any issue relating to registration of cancer patients in Nigeria”.
When the speaker put to question, the bill was unanimously adopted and referred to the House committee on health care services for further legislative action.