The University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) has introduced a micro dosing technique in its facility in order to cut the cost of cancer therapy in Nigeria.
According to it, this will drastically cut down the cost of expensive anti-cancer medicines while also ensuring availability.
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, disclosed this in Lagos.
He said that the technique, which was introduced by his administration, has made UBTH the first hospital in Nigeria to dispense anti-cancer medicines through the method.
The technique, he said, allowed patients to share vials of the medicines thus reducing the cost of anti-cancer medicines and eliminate wastages.
He disclosed that the technique had been attracting patients both within and outside Edo, adding that no fewer than 5,000 patients had since benefitted from the service.
“Cancer chemo drugs are very expensive. Most times, when you buy one vial you won’t use all of it but you are not allowed to keep it so you have to throw it away and buy another one next time.
“ So, what we did is, we set up a machine. There is what we call micro dosing, that allows us, if we buy one vial, we can share it among five patients.
“That has crashed the cost of getting these drugs to cancer patients.
“We are the first centre in Nigeria doing this and we can’t allow this go down. It requires a special chamber,” Obaseki said.
He disclosed that UBTH, as part of its cancer care programme, would soon become the second hospital in West Africa to offer brachytherapy services.
Brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy that is often used to treat cancers affecting certain parts of the body such as the head and neck, breast, cervix, prostate, and eye.
“We have procured and installed a brachytherapy machine in a dedicated building which also has several treatment areas and administrative offices,” he disclosed.
The service, which he said, was initially planned to take off in the third quarter of 2020 had to be put on hold because of COVID-19 pandemic.
The CMD, however, disclosed that the centre is now fully equipped and ready for take-off this year.
Similarly, he regretted that the emergence of COVID-19 had prevented the hospital from replacing its hi-tech linear accelerator which broke down some years ago.
“It’s something that worries me. I have done a lot to try to bring it on. That machine was the only one taking care of the whole of the South-South of Nigeria.
“People come from all places to come and take treatment here. Last year, I went to Dubai and I met the manufacturers. I even got a letter from Sweden.
“They agreed to give us two new machines and also promised to remove the faulty one and give us the latest model.
“That was January last year and they also agreed that they will spread the cost of payments over five years.”
According to him, somebody paid one fifth of the amount.
He said that more funding is required to fix the linear accelerator in order to facilitate cancer treatment so as to save lives.
He urged the Federal Government, well-meaning individuals and organisations to aid the project as it required huge resources to run and sustain.