GO in Nigeria

Photo above: Karl Lorenz (Section Chief, Palliative Care, Stanford - GO volunteer) meeting with palliative care and oncology nurses at Lagos University Teaching Hospital

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country (~190 million) and 50% of the population lives in extreme poverty ($1.90 USD per day). As the lifespan of Nigerians increases and the country industrializes, it is expected that nearly 40% of Africa’s cancer burden will occur in Nigeria. Nigeria only has 9 comprehensive cancer treatment centers but the WHO estimates they should have 170.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, comprising 25% of all cancers.[i] Outcomes are strikingly different by region – in North America, 19% of breast cancer cases result in death, while in Nigeria 51% or more of women die of the disease.

The frequency of cervical cancer in Nigeria is second to breast cancer with over 14,000 cases each year and over 8,000 deaths.[ii] Tragically, each one of these deaths in avoidable due to the existence of the HPV vaccine. An August 2018 study showed that "there is a need for massive and sustained awareness creation to increase HPV vaccination uptake in Nigeria." To tackle this problem, GO created a comic book (shown at left) to teach Nigerian and all adolescents in LMICs about cervical cancer and the importance of getting and advocating for the HPV vaccine.

GO Collaborations

In order to alleviate the cancer crisis in Nigeria, GO established a strong and interactive partnership with three university teaching hospitals and the national hospital – together representing a broad Nigerian population – in conjunction with Stanford University, the American Cancer Society, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and the Nigerian Ministry of Health to achieve the following objectives:

Newly installed Elekta Linac at National Hospital in Abuja shown by lead oncologist, Dr. Bello, during GO visit in Feb 2018
Newly installed Elekta Linac at National Hospital, Abuja

[i] Jacques Ferlay et al., “Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: Sources, Methods and Major Patterns in GLOBOCAN 2012,” International Journal of Cancer 136, no. 5 (March 1, 2015): E359–86, doi:10.1002/ijc.29210.

[ii] Op-Ed: Africa is now in serious danger of sleepwalking into a cancer crisis By CNBC Africa - February 3, 20170 https://www.cnbcafrica.com/news/special-report/2017/02/03/cervical-cancer/

[iii]  Reducing incidence of cervical cancer: knowledge and attitudes of caregivers in Nigerian city to human papilloma virus vaccination
Adaobi I. Bisi-OnyemaechiEmail author, Ugo N. Chikani and Obinna Nduagubam Infectious Agents and Cancer201813:29 https://doi.org/10.1186/s13027-018-0202-9

©  The Author(s). 2018
Received: 15 June 2018
Accepted: 9 August 2018
Published: 17 August 2018