Pfizer Boosts Oncology Care, Installs Telemedicine Centre in Abuja



L-R: Dr Kodjo Soroh, medical director, SubSahara Africa Pfizer; Prof. Mahmoud Raji, CMD at National Hospital; Dr Shagaya, HOD Oncology at National Hospital; Dr Solomon Obekpa, medical manager Pfizer; and Dr Samuel Otene; national NMA cancer committee chairman, at the launch.

As part of activities to bridge care gap in oncology, while improving access to quality healthcare for breast cancer patients in Nigeria, Pfizer has installed a Telemedicine Centre at the National Hospital in Abuja.

The biopharmaceutical company disclosed the need for such breast cancer management system in Nigeria, with gross inadequate number of medical professionals due to brain drain and shortage of cancer centres in the country.

Pfizer explained further, the essence of the Telemedicine System, which is designed to provide breast cancer management access to patients in remote villages and towns, who hardly get oncology services in the areas.

Speaking at the unveiling of the state-of-the-art facility, Dr Kodjo Soroh, medical director, East and West Africa Pfizer, said “Oncology is a key therapeutic area for Pfizer, and we are relentless in delivering medical breakthroughs that have the potential to change patients’ lives significantly.

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“With the paucity of medical professionals because of brain drain, leaving only a few oncologists available to manage patients with breast cancer in Nigeria, the need for telemedicine to provide and support cancer care when distance separates cannot be overemphasized. The gross lack of awareness and access to treatment centres from majority of the patients who are rural dwellers, makes telemedicine innovation a bridge that can close the care gap in education, diagnosis, and management of breast cancer in West African countries including Nigeria.

“For Pfizer, installing the telemedicine centre is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to changing the lives of people with breast cancer for the better – from treatment to helping to remove barriers to equitable care and beyond. Pfizer has supported patients and the breast cancer community for more than 20 years and our goals are clear: powering more treatment options, and more breakthroughs, for everyone.”

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The Chief Medical Director, National Hospital Abuja, Dr Mohammad Raji Mahmoud added that oncology centres are few in the country with less than 15 oncology centres serving cancer patients in the whole country.

Of these centres, he explained that, only five have radiotherapy machines that are owned by the government.

“Out of these five, only the machines at National Hospital Abuja are currently functional. Radiation therapy is an essential component of breast cancer treatment. In a populous country such as Nigeria, access to care for cancer patients is severely limited. The installation of this telemedicine centre by Pfizer will bridge the care gap in the management of breast cancer patients in Nigeria as we advance the steps to take in fighting breast cancer. “

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He said the telemedicine centre by Pfizer would greatly address the gaps being experienced by underserved and hard-to-reach patients as it removes barriers that stand in the way of their care. “The platform will create awareness on breast cancer and eliminate the barriers to early diagnosis and treatment as it will serve as a medium for training and interaction between the rural health care workers in primary healthcare centres and oncologists. This will significantly improve breast cancer care by serving as a forum for MDT approach (virtual turmour board) by different specialist involved in breast cancer management,” he added.




















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