The National Hospital in Abuja has received a new radiotherapy machine.
The new machine, when installed, is expected to enable the hospital attend to more cancer patients in the country, officials say.
With the new addition, the hospital can now boast of three radiotherapy machines.
One was recently installed and commissioned in December 2017. The third one is an old machine which breaks down from time to time.
A press statement released by the Federal Ministry of Health on Tuesday said the new Elekta Machine for Linear Accelerator (LINAC) is made up of ”several components to be coupled and installed soon.”
According to the statement, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Jeff Momoh, said the Abuja Radiotherapy centre would be ”the only centre in West Africa running two Linear accelerators at the same time.”
This, he explained, is to avoid, ”running down the first machine which has currently treated over 200 patients.”
The CMD said the arrival of the machine is a major breakthrough for the country as the installation would check medical tourism.
Many cancer patients in Nigeria travel out of the country for cancer treatment due to lack of facilities. This often aggravates their aliment.
Mr. Momoh said a cancer patient has returned from India for treatment at the centre.
“We will soon see patients from other sub-regions receiving cancer treatment in the hospital because of the state of the art equipment available, it will be the best cancer treatment centre in West Africa,” he said.
Mr. Momoh added that similar machines would soon be installed in each of the six geopolitical zones in the country.
“On the maintenance and optimum functionality of the cancer machine, the hospital has fully trained the first set of Nigerians on the maintenance and supervision of the Linear Accelerator, to ensure its proper use,” he added.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, during the commissioning of the previous machine in December had promised that the government was going to provide more cancer machines to help alleviate the sufferings of cancer patients in the country.
Mr. Adewole had said that the disease has become a menace in the country which needs to be tackled.
He said at least 10,000 people die annually due to lack of basic equipment.