The International Association of Lions Clubs District 4048B1 Nigeria has called on government, corporate organisations and well-meaning individuals to join the campaign in fighting childhood cancer in Nigeria.
Its new District Governor, Mrs Kema Ashibuogwu, made the call at a news briefing on Friday in Lagos to create awareness about the disease in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that that Childhood cancer,” also called pediatric cancer, is a general term used to describe a range of cancer types found in children ages zero to 14 years.
The most common types of cancer are leukaemia, followed by brain and other CNS tumors, lymphomas, neuroblastoma, kidney tumors, and malignant bone tumors.
Ashibuogwu said the Lions Club was passionate about providing the needed support for children living with cancer and was working with both local and international partners to achieve the objective.
She said: “We need to create an awareness on childhood cancer because many children are dying today due to ignorance of the disease.
“Some people don’t even know that there are children battling cancer and if the children are diagnosed early, they have a higher survival rate.
“However, how many parents can afford to pay for their treatment? Some even abandon them because even when they come to the hospital, they, as caregivers have no where to stay when the child is on admission.
“You find them sleeping on the corridor of the wards or even in car parks which can be very stressful and frustrating.”
To this end, she said the club was planning to build a caregivers home at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, where the caregivers could stay for just N500 per night.
She said the club, depending on the support gotten, could also consider procuring a flow cytometer, a cancer detection machine, which cost about N64 million and was currently unavailable in hospitals across the country.
According to her, Nigerians battling cancer have to go to South Africa and India to run the tests which cost N350,000 presently.
Ashibuogwu said the estimated cost of the projects was about N200 million, adding that the club with the support of Lions Club International Foundation and other companies was optimistic of inaugurating the projects by May 2023.
“We are calling on companies, politicians and well-meaning individuals to support us because our theme for this Lions Club Year is “Together We Can.”
“All things are possible and it is our responsibility to ameliorate the sufferings faced by children battling cancer and their caregivers (parents) in Nigeria,” she said.