Abuja, Nigeria – In response to the shortage of cancer treatment centers and oncologists in Nigeria, leading pharmaceutical company Pfizer has taken a significant step by installing a Telemedicine Centre at the National Hospital in Abuja. The move aims to provide and support cancer care for underserved patients and bridge the gap in medical resources.
Pfizer’s decision to establish the telemedicine center comes as the company recognizes the pressing need to address the scarcity of oncologists in the country. With less than 15 cancer treatment centers currently available nationwide, the situation has left many patients with limited access to vital healthcare services.
Dr. Kodjo Soroh, the Medical Director for East and West Africa at Pfizer, underscored the significance of the telemedicine initiative. “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,” he said. “The paucity of medical professionals due to brain drain has left only a few oncologists available to manage breast cancer patients in Nigeria. Therefore, the need for telemedicine to provide and support cancer care when distance separates cannot be overemphasized.”
The telemedicine center established by Pfizer at the National Hospital in Abuja is expected to address the gaps experienced by underserved and hard-to-reach patients. It represents a pivotal innovation that can bridge the care gap in education, diagnosis, and management of breast cancer not only in Nigeria but also in other West African countries.
The lack of awareness and limited access to treatment centers, particularly for rural dwellers, has been a significant challenge in providing comprehensive care for cancer patients. By leveraging telemedicine, Pfizer aims to overcome geographical barriers and bring specialized cancer care to those who need it the most.
Dr. Mohammad Raji Mahmoud, the Chief Medical Director of the National Hospital Abuja, shed light on the current state of cancer care in Nigeria. “Oncology centers are few in the country, with less than 15 centers serving cancer patients nationwide. Out of these centers, only five have government-owned radiotherapy machines, and currently, only the machines at National Hospital Abuja are functional,” he revealed. “In a populous country such as Nigeria, access to care for cancer patients is severely limited.”
The installation of the telemedicine center is a step forward in improving cancer care and ensuring that patients have access to vital treatments and consultations. It is hoped that initiatives like these will inspire further collaboration between healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies to address the pressing healthcare challenges faced by the Nigerian population.
As Pfizer continues its commitment to medical breakthroughs, the telemedicine center stands as a testament to the company’s dedication to improving the lives of patients affected by cancer. With increased access to remote consultations and specialized care, underserved communities can find hope in the face of the disease, knowing that they are not alone in their fight against cancer.