On World Cancer Day, I am joining my Wellbeing Foundation Africa in advocating for comprehensive healthcare which prioritises cancer innovation, early detection, prevention, treatment and support to make the world a healthier place.
According to the WHO, globally, nearly 1 in 6 deaths are due to cancer, with an estimated 70% of all cancer deaths occurring in the Global South, making it the leading cause of death worldwide. Though over 40% of all cancers are preventable, a lack of access to essential health services, healthier behaviours, regular screening, and cancer education and care means that many are denied a timely diagnosis and treatment – furthering the equity gap as most disadvantaged groups are also more likely to have increased exposures to a host of risk factors, like tobacco, an unhealthy diet or environmental hazards.
According to my Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Amref Health Africa’s landmark 2018 Rapid Assessment of Cancer Care in Nigeria – which guided Nigeria’s policymakers in formulating National Cancer Strategy and Registries – the burden and trend of non-communicable diseases – including cancer – is on the increase in Nigeria.
That is why myself and WBFA continue to bridge the gap, empower and support organisations and activations such as the LSTM News Co-Creation Workshop to identity the gaps, the needs, and barriers in Midwifery, Oncology and Mental Health nursing in Nigeria, the Marcelle Ruth Cancer Centre and Specialist Hospital, The Bricon Foundation, Medicaid Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Walk with WHO Nigeria, as we continue to work toward and emphasise the importance of achieving the UN, The Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030.
With 19.3 million new cases of cancer this past year, each and every one of us can contribute to creating a health community that will make real progress in reducing the global impact of cancer; because change begins with a ripple and ends with a wave.