The new cutting-edge cancer treatment machine just installed at the National Hospital Abuja will reduce patient’s treatment waiting time from 16 minutes to two minutes, the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr Jaf Momoh, said on Friday at the inauguration of the equipment by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

The Elekta Synergy Linear Accelerator radiotherapy machine donated by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) enables treatment to focus on the cancer tumour and not impact other organs in the patient.

Momoh described the intervention by NNPC and SNEPCo as timely noting that first cancer treatment equipment in the hospital became disused in 2017 after 17 years of use which caused the hospital management to set out for two state-of-the-art replacement machines.

According to him, the first replacement machine was installed and inaugurated in December 2017 and has since “treated 850 patients in over 25,000 cycles of radiotherapy sessions”.

“With this new machine, the hospital is poised for effective and efficient cancer treatment with no interruption during periods of routine equipment maintenance,” Momoh said, adding that indigent patients would enjoy subsidised treatment.

In his speech, Vice President Osinbajo said cancer prevention initiatives should be promoted, noting that many cases of the disease could be prevented.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdullahi Mashi, Osinbajo said “The increasing trend in the prevalence of cancer may be a reflection of lifestyles which goes to show that lifestyle modifications may go a long way in curtailing the scourge. This underscores the importance of awareness creation at all health facilities and provision of screening facilities.”

The Vice President charged well-meaning Nigerians and organisations “to replicate what NNPC and Shell Nigeria have done in other health facilities to make cancer treatment easily accessible to patients.”

SNEPCo’s Managing Director, Bayo Ojulari, said the intervention by NNPC and SNEPCo was to support government to widen treatment access, reduce waiting time significantly, and provide a world-class facility that boasts of precision.

“The Elekta Synergy LINAC offers a unique radiation therapy technique that accurately shapes the radiation dose to the tumour with very little or no adverse effect on the surrounding organs, he said.

According to him, the cancer support was one of the five critical health projects being executed across the country by NNPC, SNEPCo and their co-venture partners.

He listed other projects to include Medical Emergency Response Improvement Programme in Lagos; Health System Strengthening Project at the Primary Healthcare Centre in Ogijo, Ogun State; Community Care Programmes – Health in Motion – across Nigeria; and Integrated Humanitarian Assistance Project for internally displaced persons in Dikwa, Bornu State where over 50,000 persons have so far enjoyed a broad range of medical services, with over 826 children delivered.

Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, who was represented by the Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, pledged the commitment of the corporation to any initiatives aimed at touching the lives of Nigerians and stemming medical tourism out of the country.

Also at the equipment inauguration were former Speaker, House of Representatives and Chairman of the Governing Board of the National Hospital Abuja, Mrs Patricia Etteh; Managing Director of JNC International, the equipment solutions partner, Mrs Clare Omatseye; Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Mr Bashir Bello; and representatives of SNEPCo’s co-venture partners: Esso E&P Nigeria (Deepwater) Ltd; Total E&P Nigeria Ltd; and Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd.  

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