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Organisation builds centre for cancer patients with potential mental disorder

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
01 May 2022   |   3:10 am
Healthcare organisation, Project PINK BLUE, has opened a Psychological Support Centre (PSC) in Abuja to mitigate potential mental health crisis for cancer patients in Nigeria.

Healthcare organisation, Project PINK BLUE, has opened a Psychological Support Centre (PSC) in Abuja to mitigate potential mental health crisis for cancer patients in Nigeria.

According to the group: “It is estimated that over 20,000 cancer patients are at risk of severe mental health disorders because of diagnosis. These disorders may affect treatment and the quality of life.”

This project is funded by Advanced Breast Cancer Global Alliance, a global alliance focused on improving and extending the lives of women and men living with advanced breast cancer.

Executive Director of Project PINK BLUE Runcie Chidebe, who disclosed this in Abuja, noted over 100,000 people were diagnosed with different forms of cancers every year in Nigeria and less than two percent of these patients have ever received any professional psychological support after cancer diagnosis and during treatment.

He observed that diagnosis of cancer and its treatment impacts physically on the patients and could lead to loss of body parts, such as the breasts, limb, and other physical challenges, which could negatively affect the mental wellbeing of cancer patients.

“ In Nigeria, many cancer patients receive the ‘bad’ news of “you have cancer” from their doctors, surgeon or from the diagnostic centres without the presence of any psychological counsellor. This is because there is no dedicated, professional, psychological care or mental health support for cancer patients and their caregivers in many cancer hospitals across Nigeria.

To mitigate this potential mental health crisis, Chidebe stated that “Project PINK BLUE is setting up Abuja’s first Psychological Support Centre (PSC) for cancer patient with funding from ABC Global Alliance adding that the PSC will provide a weekly psychotherapeutic clinic led by clinical psychologists for cancer patients at the centre.

He said, “We will provide death & grief programme, art therapy, psychological assessment, personal & group therapy, family & caregivers support, doctor-patient support, wellness & resilience programme, psychological training for healthcare workers, psychological awareness and creation of a virtual psychological support system for patients who live outside Abuja”.

“The ABC Global Alliance is proud to support the creation of the 1st Psychological Support Centre in Abuja. Cancer patients need to be fully supported both physically and psychologically to be able to overcome this disease” said Dr Fatima Cardoso, President ABC Global Alliance and Director Breast Unit, Champalimaud Clinical Center, Portugal.

He noted that the Psychological Support Centre (PSC) is expected to begin accepting cancer patients as from May 1, 2022 adding that the First Lady of Kebbi State Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu and Professor of Clinical Psychology Chioma Asuzu are the co-chairs for the centre’s Steering Committee. The members of the steering committee are Ayisha Osori, author of Love Does Not Win Elections; Dr Alejandra Platas from ABC Global Alliance, Dr Charles T. Orjiakor, Dr Nneoma Onyebire, Rev. Sr. Dr C. Onyedibe all from University of Nigeria Nsukka; Alison Simon from Birmingham City University; Dr Nneka Shagaya and Onyes Amaka Juliet from National Hospital Abuja; Dr Tania Estape from Psicooncologia Fundacion FEFOC, Spain; Dr Jenee Walker from West Virginia University, USA; Zion Ameh from Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative Abuja and Khadijat Banwo-Fatai, Gloria C. Okwu, and Sunshine K. Chidebe from Project PINK BLUE.