Govt urged to continue free cancer treatment for albinos
THE incoming government of General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) has been urged not to scrap the free cancer treatment for all registered albinos in the country.
This is even as a call has been made to extend this to the six geo-political zones for easy access. Founder of Albino Foundation, Jake Epelle, made this call at the National Albinism Day in Abuja, where he called on government at all levels and citizens to support the crusade to end all forms of discriminatory practices against persons with albinism.
According to him, President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had so far offered tremendous assistance to persons living with albinism in Nigeria, saying medical bills of about N17.8 million incurred at the National Hospital by albinos from across the country have been settled by the out-going government. However, he noted that due to the costly nature of cancer treatment, the outstanding cancer treatment bill incurred at that hospital has spiraled to N46 million, adding that the total cost includes outstanding bills from the last two years.
While commending the Jonathan administration for the initiative, Epelle also expressed gratitude to the management of the National Hospital for their understanding in continuing treatment to albinos despite unsettled bills.
He expressed hope that the new government would support persons living with albinism. Speaking on the theme, “Mainstreaming albinism into the socio-economic and political development of Nigeria,” Epelle said Nigeria has become the first country to formulate a national policy on albinism.
He said the policy drawn up by the Federal Ministry of Education in conjunction with seven other ministries now puts the country on the world map for recognition. “Part of the objectives of the policy is the direct involvement of government and citizens in the propagation of end to all forms of discrimination against albinos in the society. Certain legal pedestals have also been introduced to push for end to discrimination against albinos in schools, offices, political appointments, hospitals and other areas,” he said.