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Paediatric Cancer: Advocacy for better survival

 Paediatric Cancer: Advocacy for better survival
Paediatric Cancer: Advocacy for better survival
Oncology Unit in Paediatric Department, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Childhood Cancer Day 2023.
Childhood Cancer Day is an annual event marked every February 15th to create awareness of Childhood Cancer with the theme “Better Survival is Achievable Through Your Hands”
The Keynote Speaker, a Paediatric Oncologist and Head of the Unit, Prof. Akani N., while speaking in a symposium with the topic: “Burden of Paediatric Cancer Management in a Resource Poor Setting”, said “there is a poor level of awareness of Childhood Cancer in Nigeria; hence, the event is used to create awareness and also to raise support for patients”.
Prof. Akani, also warned against the inhaling of fuel(premium motor spirit) as it is toxic to both adults and children, but of more harm to children to cause poisoning and possible cancer.
She advised parents to always present their children early to the hospital as early detection is key in the management of cancer.
Speaking on the nutrition perspective a cancer survivor and a medical consultant Dr. Ezeirim .C. recounted her ordeals while stating that fresh fruits and vegetables play a great role in the survival and management of cancer. Patients were encouraged to ensure a healthy intake of carrots, cucumbers, bananas, avocados, tomatoes etc and possibly grow them in their farms to ensure their availability at all time.
Recounting some of the hospital’s interventions as regard alleviating the sufferings encountered by cancer patients, Prof. N. O. Ekeke, Head of Urology Unit, noted that Cancer drugs are subsidized for patients in UPTH for the overall good of the patients.
In his words, “We have included Childhood Cancer drugs, they were not there in the past but they are available now”, talking from the National perspective.
Cancer drugs are subsidized for patients.
This is made possible because UPTH is included in the Cancer Health Fund- this is a fund for indigent patients. It will take care of diagnosis and treatment of indigent patients. Prof. Ekeke also disclosed that the urology division now offer curative treatment for early detected prostrate cancer. Staff have been trained in ChemoSafe Practices’.
He stressed that the hospital has done well but still needs partnership to ameliorate the plights of the patients.
In commemorating the day with the team of Paediatrics Oncologist is the Lions Club International District 404 A2 through its District Governor, Lion Asiwaju .J. Bello, in remarks said the Lions Club is committed to lending a helping hand to people in service to humanity. The sum of Three Hundred Thousand (N300,000) naira was donated to the Paediatric Oncology Unit; also financial support was given to some Paediatric cancer patients in the hospital.
In reaction to this, Head, of Department Paediatrics, Prof. Peace Okpara , appreciated the Lions Club International for their donations and promised that the donation will be used to alleviate the financial burdens being faced by patients in the hospital.

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The University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital treats well over 400,000 out-patients per annum, over 10,000 in-patients per annum and well over 3000 surgeries per annum.

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