Special Report-UMTH: The Cancer Centre Under Professor Ahidjo’s Led Management Team (2)

By: James Bwala

According to GLOBOCAN 2012, prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women were found to have the highest predicted incidence rates of cancer, respectively. Other common cancers on the continent included skin cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, lung, liver, colorectal, and esophageal cancer. According to estimates, there are 79 instances of cancer overall per 100,000 people in the African population.

I was thinking about this study and its findings while also recalling the work being done at the UMTH Cancer Centre. Speaking on the machines purchased for the Center, Professor Ahmed Ahidjo, Chief Medical Director at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, predicted that patients will soon no longer need to travel abroad for medical care. The hospital is sending a number of employees to the center for effective performance for specific training in the management of the disease and equipment, according to the CMD.

“One of the largest cancer centers in Africa, this facility contains four bunkers to defend from radiation. The hospital spent over two billion naira on the two machines you witnessed being installed, and they are the best ones yet. I can guarantee you that with a facility like this in Maiduguri, we have provided the greatest care possible, meaning that patients with any form of cancer no longer need to travel outside for treatment. Our current UMTH facilities are of the highest caliber.” CMD said.

Although a comprehensive list of all cancer treatment centers in Africa has yet to be created, I think the management team led by Professor Ahmed Ahidjo at the UMTH took a significant step in the right direction. I can’t believe he’s come this far, but (Ahidjo and his team did it).

The African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer developed the African Cancer Network Project in 2012 to promote cooperation and coordination amongst the numerous organizations working for cancer control on the continent. A list of organizations in Africa that deal with cancer treatment, research, teaching, advocacy, fund-raising, and administration was produced as part of the project.

The list, which is always being updated, includes 102 facilities for cancer treatment, including general oncology centers, facilities for gynecologic oncology or other single-organ malignancies, pediatric oncology facilities, and facilities for palliative care. 38 of these establishments are found in South Africa. Even if the list is not yet complete, it indicates that there is a severe lack of cancer treatment facilities on the continent. The good news is that, considering the operational momentum with which Professor Ahmed Ahidjo tackles these concerns, the tally will soon change thanks to contributions from hospitals like the UMTH.

The words of support from individuals and organizations have been lubricating this earth-shattering concept, keeping Professor Ahmed Ahidjo at the top of the ladder for history to reckon.

“Even while total cancer control is still the goal worth pursuing, palliative care can be provided for less money and assures that the majority of suffering brought on by advanced malignancies is under control. The findings of a recent global assessment on the state of palliative care for all diseases, including cancer palliation activities, were released by WHO. In 22 African nations, there was no proof of any palliative activity for adults (although WHO admitted that some activities may take place). The activity was in the early stages of integration with mainstream health care in five nations, while capacity building was ongoing in 16, provided palliation exclusively in specific regions, and was offered in two other countries.” According to a report.

The WHO survey was unable to give any information regarding pediatric palliative care for the majority of Africa. In five nations, capacity building is taking place, while palliation is being delivered locally in another. There is only one nation where palliative care is integrated into the primary healthcare system. More than 360,000 adults and children with cancer in Africa are anticipated to require palliative care, according to a WHO survey.

I previously wrote about the UMTH Child Institute, which was heavily influenced by the Management Team under Ahidjo’s leadership and collaborated with WHO as partners in Borno state and is expected to support palliative care. According to one study, 87.5% of the 112 cancer patients who participated in the study who reported experiencing pain did so because it was discovered to be particularly widespread among cancer patients. According to the WHO, morphine is a crucial medication for treating pain, including the discomfort caused by advanced malignancies.

On average, a patient who needs palliative pain relief would take 67.5 mg of morphine per day for around three months. In general, the price of this therapy is affordable; in Uganda, for instance, it was estimated that the entire cost of morphine for one patient over three months would be $23.12. The UMTH is even going so far as to ask well-meaning people to help in subsidizing drugs for patients, especially those who are often below the poverty line. Cases are different in Nigeria, but with a greater willingness to provide patients with the aid they need, the UMTH is going farther.

The Chief Commissioner of the Borno State Public Complaints Commission wrote in his report on Ahidjo’s accomplishments at the UMTH: “I was in the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital on a special proactive investigation with my team from the Public Complaints Commission, PCC. As the state’s Ombudsman, it is also my responsibility to gauge public sentiment and take appropriate action. Contrary to some implication, I was shocked by what I witnessed this time around regarding the ongoing situation at the UMTH.

“After the customary administrative exchange, Professor Ahmed Ahidjo, the CMD, offered to show us around the hospital. To my greatest surprise, the achievements documented were beyond what I had heard and read about the hospital’s expanding development since Professor Ahmed Ahidjo assumed control of its administration.

“I felt proud and experienced everything a proud son of Borno state should experience as we toured the departments and units and marveled at the spectacular buildings and equipment of the highest caliber. The amount of labor and administrative customizing that is sweeping across units and departments in the hospital is evident from the nodding approbation on my team’s faces.

The Cancer Centre and what Professor Ahmed Ahidjo told me about the multi-million-naira Cancer Centre at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital caught my attention the most, among many other shocks. As he spoke passionately about Hon. Muktari Betara Aliyu’s services to the center, I was even more surprised and almost could not believe what my ears were hearing.

“As a resident of Borno state who hails from the Biu local government area, I am aware of Hon. Muktari Betara Aliyu’s services to my community and the National Assembly district he represents. Up until I visited the Cancer Center at UMTH and heard directly from the CMD, I believed that what he did to my community as our representative is the peak of it.

“Hon. Muktari Betara Aliyu’s decision to visit the Cancer Centre was made in a humble and divinely guided manner. I think a lot of people who were close to him, like myself, would continue to be grateful and proud of him for his love of humanity. Hon. Muktari Betara Aliyu made a unique and prestigious choice in supporting the construction of a cancer center by empathizing with those who had to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“The Chief Medical Director, Professor Ahmed Ahidjo, has spoken a lot that has shown Hon. Muktari Betara in a fresh light of those who performed well not just for the people of their constituency but for humanity as a whole. In fact, I’d argue that Hon. Muktari Betara Aliyu is more than simply a name; he has a heart that wants what’s best for the people.”


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