Timilehin Leukaemia Foundation, on Friday called for a more friendly law to help cancer patients buy and screen blood to reduce the burden on them.
The Chairperson of Timilehin Foundation, Mrs Modupe Oyedele made the call at the 3rd Voluntary Blood Donation in memory of her son Timilehin, who died of Leukaemia at the age of eight.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the objective of the foundation is to provide care and support for people living with Leukaemia, especially children.
The programme with the theme: “How Our Eating Habit Can Affect Our Health “was held in Lagos.
The Timilehin Foundation is working in partnerships with the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN).
Oyedele said that the major challenge faced by cancer patients was finance to bear the high cost of treatments such as chemotherapy.
“Our major challenge is finance, especially in the provision of chemotherapy which is very expensive. It is not easy to raise funds for the treatment of Leukaemia patients because of the exorbitant monthly charges.
“We have also observed that Leukaemia patients are ashamed to identify with their children or even discuss the agonising pains they are passing through.
“Also from my experience, touts normally hang around our teaching hospitals to sell blood for as much as N20, 000 a pint. In addition, patients have to pay N7, 000 to get the blood screened.
“This is a sad manifestation of the state of our economy and man’s insensitivity to the plight of those who are in dire need of blood,” she said.
Oyedele called on the government to give priority to cancer patients through some legislation and some incentives.
“In the light of what Leukaemia patients suffer daily, we urge government to give priority to cancer patients by making blood available and accessible to all cancer patients.
“Government can do this by creating awareness on the benefits of donating blood because if people are sensitised thoroughly, they will donate blood voluntarily.
“Government should abolish the N7, 000 charged to screen blood, this will lessen the burden on cancer patients.
“Government should also pass the law that will make the act of selling own blood a crime to discourage commercial blood donors, and build centres where blood can be donated voluntarily,” she said.
Oyedele called on government to formulate a policy that could make the treatment of cancer free to save the lives of patients, especially those who cannot afford the treatment.
“In the last two years, our activities have been to create awareness of this deadly disease called cancer and we have also embarked on four voluntary blood donations.
“We have to embark on this regularly because there is shortage of blood supply in our hospitals, ” she said.
The Assistant Director, Health Promotion, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mr Olusegun Badejo, who spoke on healthy living, restated the need to have balanced diets in daily intakes.
Mrs Temitope Ogungbemi, medical officer called on mothers to adopt compulsory breast feeding for their children during the formative years.
NAN reports that part of the programmes was voluntary donation of bloods by the public.