Cancer Burden in Nigeria; Possibility of a New Hope in a New Political Dispensation

Download Article

DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.09.04.Art014

Authors : Aisagbonhi Henry Osaro, Daniel Olusoji James, Esther Ametor Ajakaiye A, Odega Kelvin Ifechukwude, Udo Iniobong Anselem


Nigeria looks forward to the emergence of another political dispensation. National elections are soon to take place with resultant political changes in ministerial leadership positions across the nation at federal, state, and local government levels’ including the ministry of health; however, in this article, the concern was with the general health care in Nigeria and with a focus on the prevailing situation of Cancer health care in Nigeria. Statistics showed that there is a rising global cancer epidemic in Nigeria. The level of Cancer incidence and mortality counts in Nigeria as of 2012 and still counting’ was severely high amongst women– 64709 (63%) and 40647(57%) compared to men 37370(36.6%) and 30924(43%), respectively. The emergence of a new political dispensation in 2023 ushers in a possibility and awakening of new hope in general health care. Therefore, this article highlighted the observed challenges and proffered solutions for the purpose of informed decisions. Based on staff and patient perspective interviews and discussion, the following major aspects, including a critical review of health governing boards, administration, technology, specialty expansion via partnership, quality assurance, health funding, were identified, addressed and solutions proffered.

Keywords: Challenges, Epidemic, Informed Decisions, Ministry of Health, Cancer, Political Dispensation, Proffered Solutions, Patient Satisfaction.


[1] Azubuike, S.O., Muirhead, C., Hayes, L. 2018. Rising global burden of breast cancer: the case of sub-Saharan Africa (with emphasis on Nigeria) and implications for regional development: a review. World J Surg Onc 16, 63 (2018).

[2] World Bank 2017 report (Accessed on May 10, 2017).

[3] Jabulani Sikhakhane, 2017. African politicians seeking medical help abroad is shameful and harms health care. Updated August 25, 2019, 12.40pm Sast.

[4] Seun Opejobi 2021. Buhari’ll still travel for routine medical check-ups – Presidency replies to critics. Published on April 7, 2021.

[5] Medical Tourism Association, 2018: - Accessed on April 15, 2020.

[6] WHO/WORKFORCEALLIANCE, 2018. (accessed on April 15, 2020).

[7] Human Resource for Health -Country Profile: Nigeria, WHO GHWA, 2008. (Accessed on April 15, 2020).

[8] Binue, V.S, Chandrashekhar, T.S, Subba, S.H. 2007. Cancer pattern in Western Nepal: a hospital-based retrospective study. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention 8, 183-186.

[9] Boyle P., & Levin, B., World cancer report, Geneva. 2011. International Agency for Research on Cancer. 2011. (Accessed on April 15, 2020).

[10] Olufunsho Awodele, Ayokunle A. Adeyomoye, Demorah F Awodele, Vincet B. Fayankinnu, and Auro C. Dolapo., 2011. Cancer distribution Pattern in south-western Nigeria. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, Volume 13, Number 2, April 2011.

[11] WHO. The Abuja Declaration: ten years on. March 25, 2011. (Accessed September 22, 2020).

[12] The Hidden Epidemic, 2016., International Atomic Energy Agency. Accessed 7:20 pm, 3rd July 2019.

[13] All about cancer, cancer society of Finland (accessed May 2020).

[14] Cancer Research UK- about cancer 2018. (accessed June 2020).

[15] National cancer institute 2012- How cancer is diagnosed. (Accessed June 2018).

[16] Adebamowo, C.A. & Ajayi O.O., 2000. Breast cancer in Nigeria. West African Journal Medicine 19, 179-194.

[17] World Health Organization. Cancer Fact Sheet- February 2017. (Accessed September 22, 2017).

[18] Owoeye I, O, G, and Ibrahim I.A, 2013. Knowledge and attitude towards cervical cancer screening among students and staff in a tertiary institution in the Niger delta. International Journal of Medicine and Biomedical Research. vol 2(1); 48-56. January 2013.

[19] Henry Aisagbonhi Osaro and Mgbeafuluba Ifeyinwa. 2018. Constance. Awareness and Practice of Cervical Cancer Screening and Human Papilloma Virus Vaccination (HPV) Uptake among Female Staff in Private Tertiary Hospital in Lagos Nigeria. Texila International Journal of Public Health, Volume 6, Issue 1, Feb 2018.

[20] WHO. Global Health Observatory Data Repository. Nigeria: statistics summary (2002–present). (accessed May 20, 2019).

[21] Awodele, Olufunsho, Adeyomoye, Ayokunle, Awodele, Deborah, Fayankinnu, Vincent, Dolapo, Duro. 2011. Cancer distribution pattern in south-western Nigeria, Tanzania Journal of Health Research 13(2):125-31 DOI:10.4314/thrb.v13i2.55226.

[22] Globocan 2002- estimated cancer incidence and mortality worldwide in 1998 - International agency for research on cancer- WHO. (Accessed May 2018).

[23] GLOBOCAN 2012- estimated cancer incidence and mortality worldwide in 2012 - International agency for research on cancer- WHO. (Accessed May 2018).

[24] GLOBOCAN, 2008 cancer incidence and mortality worldwide in 2008, - International agency for research on cancer- WHO. (Accessed May 2018).

[25] American cancer society 2013, (Accessed May 2018).

[26] Erdington and MacLean, 2010. (accessed May 2020).

[27] Fatimah Abdulkareem (Prof.), 2011. Epidemiology & Incidence of Common Cancers in Nigeria. Powerpoint presentation at the Cancer Registries & Epidemiology workshop April 2011.

[28] Ogundipe, S., & Obinna, C., 2008. Nigeria: Why cancer is on the rise in the country. RAND blog, 2014. blog/2014/06/insurance-and-incentives-a-dual-approach-to-try-to.html (accessed May 20, 2015).

[29] Globocan 2003, (Accessed May 2020).

[30] WHO (2007a) WHO web site; (Accessed May 2018).

[31] WHO (2007b) WHO calls0020for prevention of cancer through healthy workplaces. (Accessed May 2018).

[32] Federal Republic of Nigeria HRH Strategic Plan 2008-2012. Accessed on June 2018.

[33] Lawal YZ, Samuel EF, Abdul MA, Abdullahi ZG, Rafindadi AL, Faruk JA, et. al., 2017. Nigerian health care: A quick appraisal. Sahel Med J 2017; 20:79-88.

[34] WHO. 2014. World cancer report by. International agency for research on cancer. Editors- bernard w. Stewart and Christopher p. Wild. ISBN; 978928320429-9. Cited at (accessed May 2018).

[35] Karazivan P, Dumez V, Flora L, et. al. 2015. The Patient As-Partner Approach in Health Care: A Conceptual Framework for a Necessary Transition. Academic Medicine. Post-Author Corrections: January 20, 2015.

[36] Marie-Pascale Pomey, Hassiba Hihat, May Khalifa, Paule Lebel, André Néron, 2015. Patient partnership in quality improvement of healthcare services: Patients’ inputs and challenges faced: patient experience journal, vol2, issue1, article 6, 2015.

[37] Goeschel, CA, Wachter RM, Pronovost PJ., 2010. Responsibility for quality improvement and patient safety: hospital board and medical staff leadership challenges. Chest. 2010; 138(1): 171-178.

[38] McSherry R, Pearce P., 2011. Clinical governance: a guide to implementation for healthcare professionals. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell; 2011.

[39] Bismark marie, 2015, An evidence-based approach to medical regulation 2015, URL:

[40] Sandra G. Leggat, Timothy Bartram, Gian Casimir, Pauline Stanton, 2010. Nurse perceptions of the quality of patient care: Confirming the importance of empowerment and job satisfaction Health Care Management Review, October-December 2010.

[41] Davies, H. T., Mannion, R., Jacobs, R., Powell, A. E., & Marshall, M. N., 2007. Exploring the relationship between senior management team culture and hospital performance. Medical Care Research and Review, 64(1), 46–65.

[42] Gifford, B. D., Zammuto, R. F., & Goodman, E. A. 2002. The relationship between hospital unit culture and nurses’ quality of work life. Journal of Health Management, 47(1), 13–25.

[43] Scott, T., Mannion, R., Davies, H., & Marshall, M. 2013. Healthcare performance and organisational culture. United Kingdom: Radcliffe Medical Press Ltd. statistics.html. 2013 report.).

[44] Fowler, Floyd J. Jr., Carrie A. Levin, and Karen R. Sepucha, 2011. “Informing and Involving Patients to Improve the Quality of Medical Decisions,” Health Affairs 30, no. 4 (2011): 699–706.

[45] Kanter, R. M., 1993. Men and women of the corporation. New York Basic Books. Chapter 4, Pg 32-35.

[46] How Hospitals Can Survive in the New Healthcare Environment 2014. - Global Hospital & Healthcare Management. A.98875.aspx.

[47] RFID in Healthcare, 2015: Reducing Costs and Improving Operational Efficiency. Global Hospital & Healthcare Management. 2015. Retrieved from

[48] Health Policy Brief: Improving Quality and Safety,” Health Affairs, April 15, 2017, retrieved from

[49] WHO. World health report. Health systems financing—the path to universal coverage. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2010.

[50] Abiodun Awosusi, Temitope Folaranmi, Robert Yates, 2015, Nigeria’s new government and public financing for universal health coverage. Vol 3 September 2015.

[51] Awosusi A. 2015. Health for All co-hosts national stakeholders meeting on UHC in Nigeria. (accessed May 20, 2015).

[52] Uzochukwu B, Ughasoro MD, Etiaba E, Okwuosa C, Envuladu E, Onwujekwe OE., 2015. Health care financing in Nigeria: implications for achieving universal health coverage. Niger J Clin Pract 2015; 18: 437–44.

[53] Onoka CA, Kara H, Johanna H., 2014. Towards universal coverage: a policy analysis of the development of the National Health Insurance Scheme in Nigeria. Health Policy Plan 2014; published online Oct 21. Doi:10.1093/heapol/ czu116.

[54] Olakunde BO, 2012. Public health care financing in Nigeria: which way forward? Ann Nigerian Med 2012; 6: 4–10.

[55] Okunogbe A., 2014. Insurance and incentives: a dual approach to try to improve maternal health in Nigeria. RAND blog, 2014. (accessed May 20, 2015).

[56] Resyst, 2018. Raising domestic resources for health: Can tax revenue help fund Universal Health Coverage? London: Resyst Consortium, (2015. Accessed May 2019).

[57] Gupta V, Dhillon R, Yates R., 2015. Financing universal health coverage by cutting fossil fuel subsidies. Lancet Glob Health 2015; 6: e306–e07.

[58] WHO. Presidential summit on universal health coverage ends in Nigeria. World Health Organization, 2015. (accessed September 13, 2017).

[59] Adebayo B. Make health insurance compulsory. Aug 14, 2013. (accessed September 12, 2020).