Nigerian Cancer Patients Lack Funds, Access To Quality Healthcare

Many cancer patients are referred to overseas by the Nigerian hospitals due to poor healthcare in the country. Odimegwu Onwumere writes that from the victims’ bank accounts they make public for assistance from good spirited individuals and groups in order to head overseas for treatment, government does not come to their assistance for funding, winning cancer in the country will remain a mirage 

{A Cancer Patient}

Aminat Adeniyi was 8 years old when her parents noticed that her chest was obtruding. Little did the Adeniyis who reside in Ajegunle Street, Alakuko, Lagos State, expect that what they had taken as a mere boil on their daughter’s chest would grow out of hand and cause the family sleepless nights.

All the monies that the family had saved were expended on treating the little girl who was 12 years old last year. The ailment was dogged that she underwent a surgical operation, which did little to ameliorate the disorder, but resurfaced barely four months after.

In the process, her father lost his job and the family was at a crossroads. Documents from the Lagos State Teaching Hospital, where examinations on the status of the disease were conducted showed that “the girl has a left chest wall mass of about nine years duration.”

The paradox was that when assessments had proven that the swell would not be painful, the girl’s condition worsened that she lost so much weight. Fingers pointing at cancer as the bane of the girl, the family expressed apprehension and were later advised to take the girl to overseas “for proper surgery by chest reconstruction experts.” This is without any government assistance.

Drained Funds

Since the father of the ailing child, Adeniyi Monsuru, could not get a support from the government; he resorted to seeking public assistance by giving out his bank details. This was the same case with Donald Nwosu, a Nigerian Medical Doctor who needed N25m (about $61,700) to treat cancer, July last year.

If not for Nwosu’s classmates numbering six that went online, using a platform known as Go-Fund Me, to appeal to public conscience to assist the medical doctor, he would not had lived up the July of last year. In their effort, they were able to raise $25,000, a fraction of the $61, 700 that were required for Nwosu to be alive.

The cases of Aminat Adeniyi and Donald Nwosu are but a few examples of the many cancer patients who are writhing in pains in their closet due to funds to take further step against their malady.

Emphasis On Public Financing

In a public presentation during the 2018 World Cancer Day in Lagos, a non-governmental organisation, The Dorcas Cancer Foundation expressed sadness that funding has become a dilemma to the fight against cancer in the country. Hence, the group frowned that government policies were yet to offer viable entrée for those living with cancer, especially children.

According to the founder of The Dorcas Cancer Foundation, Dr. Adedayo Joseph, “The best way to fight cancer is for the authorities to provide enough funds and put up policies that will give patients easy admittance to reputable treatment.

However, the authorities in Nigeria would always blame the citizens of not presenting their cancer matters early for diagnosis, a ploy the government has been using in order not to take blame for the lack of modern equipment in the hospitals across the country.

According to a source that would prefer anonymity, “Nigeria, with a population of over 170 million, has only eight centres for cancer treatment. Out of the eight radiotherapy machines procured by the Federal Government over 10 years ago and distributed to seven states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), none is functioning at present.”

Then-again, in its plan to screen 250,000 (eligible poor) Nigerians whom the government said could not pay for the services of screening, the government “appeals to private sector players, including foundations, to support the Federal Government in its quest to screen Nigerians for cancers by collaborating with us.”

Cancer Patients Dying

The authorities had admitted that they were not doing much to tame the surge of cancer in the country in the areas “of lack of basic equipment for treatment of cancer” as they said that 10,000 Nigerians die of the scourge yearly.

This acknowledgment was submitted by the authorities in Abuja on December 1 2017. It came even as the Federal Ministry of Health said the same year that at least 250,000 new cases of cancer were recorded yearly in Nigeria.

“Today, 10,000 cancer deaths are recorded annually while 250,000 new cases are recorded yearly in Nigeria,” the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole announced on Monday December 4 2017.

75% Percent Cancer Death By 2030

The World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti during the 2018 World Cancer Day, said Africa which Nigeria is part of, may hit 75% death from cancer by 2030.

“The cancer death rate is expected to double by 2030. Seventy-five (75 per cent) per cent of cancer deaths in the world are recorded in low and middle-income countries such as African member states, partly due to late diagnosis. Fewer than 30 per cent of low income countries have access to cancer diagnosis and treatment services,” as according to Moeti.

But over the years there have been promises by the government to seeing that the hospitals had modern cancer equipment. These promises had met little or no implementation, let alone, execution. Unlike Nigeria, the review of International Atomic Energy Agencies of all countries conducted in 2013 showed that only South Africa and Egypt have the competence of treating cancer.

The likes of Adeniyi and Nwosu were therefore skeptical of the recent promise made by the Minister of Health, saying that 70 federal health establishments were earmarked to get N11.5bn as part of the special health intervention project.

According to the source, “The special intervention projects include the tertiary health institution project, revitalisation of 774 Primary Healthcare Centres in each local government area across the country, purchase of anti-retroviral drugs for 20,000 eligible Nigerians and nationwide screening of common cancers (particularly cancer of the cervix, breast and prostate).”

The Minister believed that today in Nigeria, “The federal teaching hospitals, medical centres and specialist hospitals across the six geopolitical zones that will benefit from the intervention include 21 federal teaching hospitals, 31 Federal Medical Centres, four specialist hospitals, 14 fistula and cleft lip/palate centres.”

He pointed out that under the project, “each of the federal teaching hospitals will receive N300m while the specialist hospitals will receive N200m each. The FMCs and the fistula centres will receive N120m and N50m respectively. Other projects include 10,000 free cataract surgeries (i.e. 250 cataract surgeries per state) and free treatment of 800 patients with confirmed diagnosis of hepatitis C infection.”

Much as his words sound nice, those who know better said that government would always have sweet talks as if it was out to help the cancer patients forgetting that majority of Nigerians do not have the wherewithal to cater for their health needs unlike those in the government who sprint to overseas without sweat.

Conversely, the key speaker at a summit on cancer in Abuja, Senior Health Specialist, International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, Dr. Olumide Okunola said, “We need to recognise and emphasise on public financing, Nigeria is spending the lowest in public health financing, per capital expenditure, and we need to upscale it.”

Therefore, it behooves the government to put all modalities in place to help cancer patients in Nigeria from going berserk where they are looking for funds to stay alive.

Odimegwu Onwumere is an award-winning journalist based in Rivers State, Nigeria. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

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How Araraume Taught Okorocha To Be Godly But Okorocha Refused

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Chief Rochas Okorocha, the indefatigable rambling Imo State governor has a new agenda he wants to introduce in the state since Senator Ifeanyi Araraume indicated his interest for the governorship race of the state come 2019: Hatred.

The governor who believes and has said that Araraume is not ‘Godly’ and cannot govern Imo State, has shown himself as the rightful person that lacks spiritual  knowledge and the fear of God.

{Okorocha and Araraume}

This is odoriferous in the carriage with which Okorocha who thinks that he dines with God and is a family member of the Jehovahs, showcases himself in keeping malice and playing politics of acrimony, deceit and self-conceit.

These qualities, without a doubt, run in Okorocha’s blood like a virus and may be seen as his trademark. If not, one wonders why he would believe that Araraume would not earn his support and he would decide who Imo governor becomes in 2019 or not

The bad displeasure governor had shown his ungodly manners not only to Araraume but to many too numerous to mention. For instance, the Agbasos of Emekuku, near Owerri, will never forget the double tongue they earned from Okorocha after he deceived their son, Jude, to become his deputy.

Jude Agbaso was later hounded out of office through some spurious, trumpeted and kangaroo allegations. This happened after Okorocha had ‘swore’ before Chief Martin Agbaso, in the latter’s palatable compound at Emekuku, saying that Jude would go far with him in governance.

The raging Okorocha did that to earn the support of Martin, yet knowing deeply in his heart that he would not go far with Jude in the Imo politics. And this is what happened!

Many know Okorocha as a man who cannot be relied on when it comes to politics and Araraume perhaps knew about this peculiarity of the effusive Imo governor yet he loved him.

In the event of the 2015 elections in Imo State, Araraume directed his supporters to vote for Okorocha while believing that his action would be for Imo interest, oblivious that Okorocha would be an accident that many had thought would not happen in governance.

Araraume who was and has always been influential in the Nigerian politics gave the APC victory in Imo in the outcome of the April 11 2015 guber election. Araraume delivered APC in the six local governments of Okigwe zone, where Araraume comes from.

The Araraume whom Okorocha wants the world to believe today that has no fear of God, the latter presented glowing tributes of the former when he put the APC in the lead with over 79,000 votes.

“I want to tell you that I have seen a true man of integrity, a true great son of Imo State who came out to support me and the APC in the governorship elections without asking for a kobo,” Okorocha told the world after the 2015 guber election. “All he asked for is that the interest of his supporters and Imo people be protected. That man is Senator Araraume.”

This is the quintessential Araraume: A man whom many believe in that can put his head, not only leg, in a matter he so much believes in. Araraume so much believed in Okorocha, whom the Imo residents are suffering from the wound of the disaster that Okorocha has festered in the state today.

In the same year while in a church service at the Government House Chapel, Owerri, Okorocha was occupied of praises for Araraume. In short, Okorocha so much praised Araraume for the support he showed him, as a major determinant reason he won at the elections. If Araraume had no meek and amiable heart, he would not have supported Okorocha even when he was in another party, pre-election of 2015, other than the APC which produced Okorocha.

Let us not say that Okorocha is today sold out to greed and self-enrichment, while forgetting the hands that fed him. The irony is that he did not only forget the hands that fed him, but also, embroidered them with the mud.

Let us not also say that Okorocha is a chronic liar and deceiver who can do anything as a (godly person he wants the world to believe he is) just to get political power. And Araraume supported him to gain that political power and today, he is using it to inflict mayhem on Araraume.

Let us say that Okorocha is not ashamed of the malnutrition, hunger-related deaths, joblessness and food insecurity that have characterised Imo State sine seven years he has been in power. Instead of him to show remorse that Araraume is not the problem of Imo State, Okorocha concentrates on his long-term policies of blame game, over conceit, the unfortunate glowing tribute of the disgraced and resigned ex-president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma.

The insult which Okorocha is giving to Araraume today is unwarranted. But like Araraume would say to the rambling Okorocha, “It is only God who arrogates power, nobody can decide the fate of another; if you do that you will only be challenging your God. My destiny is in no man’s hand but God in 2019.”

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Media Consultant based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Femi Otedola’s Kiss That Is Raising Eyebrows

By Odimegwu Onwumere

“Abraham Lincoln once said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my mother.” Ben Carson added, I’m not sure I want to say it quite like that, but my mother, Sonya Carson, was the earliest, strongest, and most impacting force in my life.”

{Femi Otedola Kissing His Mum}

The oil magnet and billionaire chairman of Forte Oil, Femi Otedola did not kiss a mummy or lust to a kiss that should warrant the clobbering he has been garnering from some persons since a picture showing him kissing the mother was made public.

According to a published text where the picture was attached, Otedola said that he would not have been what he has become today if not for the mother’s stoical stance in making sure that he succeeds. So, he kisses the mother out of nonsexual love.

While the oil magnet believed that he cannot pay the mother, Lady Doja Otedola enough, for her unlimited love to him, some persons believe that it is immoral for him to kiss her. In the words of an analyst, “This is immoral, for an adult mother and son to kiss on the lips! Shame!”

Whatever the persons in this line of thought were thinking, kissing is not a bad thing. But like psychologists would say, nothing is bad but the heart makes it so.

For instance, in Mark 7:21-23, NLT, “For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

Conversely, many great men in the world who became successful out of their mothers’ inspiration, guidance, and so on had done more than a mere kiss to their mothers. For example, Benjamin Solomon Carson Sr., popularly known as Ben Carson, a renowned American neurosurgeon born September 18, 1951, has not stopped praising the mother, Sonya Carson, in his four books: Gifted Hands, Think Big, The Big Picture, Take the Risk).

Yours truly have read three of the books except ‘Take the Risk”. In these books, Ben praises the mother than is expected of any man in love with a woman. And he has been thankful to the mother whom her husband left two children to take care of, for another woman, when Curtis and Ben were but kids.

The mother who merely had a sound education except for cleaning people’s houses for a pay, was not deterred to be encouraging Ben with his low performance in the primary school.

Ben said, “Part of Mother’s strength came from a deep-seated faith in God and perhaps just as much from her innate ability to inspire Curtis and me to know she meant every word she said. We knew we weren’t rich; yet no matter how bad things got for us, we didn’t worry about what we’d have to eat or where we’d live.

“Our growing up without a father put a heavy burden on my mother. She didn’t complain — at least not to us — and she didn’t feel sorry for herself. She tried to carry the whole load, and somehow I understood what she was doing. No matter how many hours she had to be away from us at work, I knew she was doing it for us. That dedication and sacrifice made a profound impression on my life.”

So, Otedola’s kiss on the mother’s lips is acceptable and even expected of such an illustrious son. It is not what those saying it is immoral think. It is the kind of kiss that the bible Jesus exhibited to his disciples, to say the least.

A Kelli Mahoney, an expert on kissing said, “And we kiss our family members as a normal expression of affection. In many cultures and countries, kissing is a common form of greeting among friends. So clearly, kissing is not always a sin. Of course, as everyone understands, these forms of kissing are a different matter than romantic kissing.”

Otedola has every reason to kiss, caress and hug the mother for her positive influence mostly in his life. Some people like him can never forget the un-daunting zest their mothers deposited in them through life. Yes, women are naturally-muscularly feeble but you cannot limit the length their inner strength can go in the cause of raising their children and you cannot limit the level their children could go to reciprocate their love to them.

This could be the reason Abraham Lincoln born February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865 who was an American statesman and lawyer, and served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865 once said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my mother.”

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Media Consultant based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Factors That May Work Against Okorocha’s Candidate In Favour Of Araraume In Imo Guber

By Odimegwu Onwumere

One Ayn Rand tells the world in Atlas Shrugged, saying that “‘power-lust’ is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.”

{Okorocha and Araraume}

Rand might not have the loquacious Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha at heart, when that statement was made. But in earnest, the statement best captures what is happening in Imo today, where the once loved, respected, modeled, orator Rochas Okorocha has sullied his image because of “power-lust” in 2019, as if Imo State is a dramatic theater where fiction is entertained in the place of reality.

Okorocha prefers to be known for the much clatter he makes and controversial features he exhibits as governor rather than to be known as a statesman after his tenure, a trait that has shamed many people like this writer who loved Okorocha to a fault before and in 2007 he wanted to contest for the PDP chairmanship.

From his comments today, Okorocha still lives in the medieval feudalism. Imo State has become his land while the people, his labourers, who are bound to abide by his tyrannical overtures usually consisting arrogance and vulgarity.

Okorocha has shown much of his smuttiness to Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, given the interest the later has shown for the plume job of governor of Imo State come 2019.

While Araraume believes that the Imo electorate will deliver him, the talkative Okorocha believes Imo State is under dukedom where one family succeeds the duke after another.

What formed Okorocha’s statement in February this year that he has told all the contestants to start consulting but he will not support Araraume shows that Okorocha is a “proud, arrogant, vindictive, greedy and narrow-minded or clannish” person, some words he had the umpteenth time indirectly used to qualify the person of Araraume.

It is evidence that why the governor is hitting his head on the wall against Araraume’s aspiration is because he would not want Araraume to open the can of worms that he perhaps has canned as governor.

This is typified in the governor’s comment stating that he would not want, apart from Araraume, his immediate predecessor, Dr Ikedi Ohakim, re-elected. According to the ravenous Okorocha, “if Ohakim is re-elected, his mission would be for vengeance.”

It ought not to be in the hands of Okorocha to tell Ndi-Imo who they want to elect or re-elect as governor if he has nothing to fear after his tenure expires as governor in 2019. While Okorocha has said that he does not want the likes of Araraume, yet, while speaking with newsmen on February 5, he said that it was Imo people who should name “who his successor should be.”

In his words, “I want Imo people to name who they want as their governor in 2019, because I will not name any body, and that is why I have asked the aspirants to consult with the people; but, definitely, the likes of Araraume and Ohakim will not succeed me.”

However, few days latter that Okorocha made that comment like a man that cannot be trusted that he is, on February 12, at a meeting with members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Owerri Municipal Council Area, he named his Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, as his successor in 2019. Nwosu is also Okorocha’s son-in-law.

Apart from choosing his son in-law to succeed him, Okorocha’s affront on the Imo people that has shown he has failed before and on arriving 2019 was when he said that his choice for Nwosu was because of “the qualities of an ideal leader” that Nwosu has.

When it seemed to Okorocha that his son in-law was the only person in the entire Imo State with the ideals of leadership and when many Imo people were afraid to talk to Okorocha who apart from seeing Imo State as his fiefdom and overloads what happens even in the APC in the state, Araraume manifestly told him that no one owns Imo State or the APC in the state.

Okorocha who believes that his son in-law and him are the only people in Imo State that have leadership qualities, also has interest to run in the Imo West Senatorial District in 2019.

Well, given how richer Okorocha has become financially, many people from far think that Imo State population are wealthy. What they did not know is that Okorocha promised making Imo big, but the outcome is his ‘having it all to myself’ mentality he started showing as he became governor.

His new political trend to form a political dynasty is part and parcel of sheer greed which is no longer hidden in Okorocha’s political charades. He is obsessed with power, money and greed. If not, why would he have made a choice of the son in-law to go for governor while himself, to senate. This is a case of making the world to believe that greed is good.

On the other hand, it is obvious that Araraume, no matter what it will take him or cost him, wants to say that Okorocha’s judgment of 2019 is politically impaired by no other person but Araraume, because Okorocha has blinded Imo State with “power-lust” ambition.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Media Consultant based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com