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‘Nigeria Has Only 14 Radiotherapy Centres, No Functional Gamma Camera’ – Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority

NNRA Radiotherapy centres

The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) has revealed that Nigeria has only 14 radiotherapy centres and no functional gamma camera to serve its 216 million population.

Dr Yau Idris, the Director-General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, made this known on Monday at the 2024 World Cancer Day Symposium themed ‘Economy, Tax and Cancer Control: The Exit of Pharmaceutical Companies from Nigeria,’ organized by Project Pink Blue in Abuja.

Dr. Idris lamented, saying:

“We have serious problems; we have nothing to celebrate today but to lament. Looking at the case of Nigeria, we have only 14 radiotherapy centres in the country, nine of them belong to the government, only five of them belong to private, and only six of them are licensed by the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, which means the others are not safe. In terms of equipment, Nigeria has only seven Linacs (Linear accelerators), for a population of 200 million people. South Africa has 92, and Egypt has 76. Even the 14 (radiotherapy centres) we have are not functioning, because today, they are functioning, tomorrow they are not functioning.”

Speaking further, he stated that there is no functional gamma camera in the country, which is crucial for functional scans of various organs such as the lungs, brain, liver, gallbladder, thyroid, skeleton and kidneys.

He said:

“If you go to the Nuclear Medicine, we have only two Nuclear Medicine centres that have gamma cameras and both of them are down at the National Hospital, Abuja, and the University College Hospital, Ibadan. Virtually, there’s no gamma camera in Nigeria that is working, whereas a country like Tunisia with a population of twenty-something million has about 14 of them working.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Tunji Alausa, the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, announced that the Federal Government plans to build six new cancer centres across the six geopolitical zones in the country to address the burden of cancer. He emphasized that we are taking proactive measures to mitigate the situation, including securing additional funds for building cancer centers and collaborating with pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of chemotherapy.

 

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