Advancing Cancer Detection and Treatment in Nigeria

Every year, there are over 115,000 new cancer patients in Nigeria, at least half of whom will need radiotherapy. Last month, H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and other dignitaries joined Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, CA) at a ceremony in Lagos to commission the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA)/Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Cancer Treatment Centre.

The NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre is equipped with Varian’s most innovative cancer therapy solutions, enabling curative treatments to be delivered for the first time in Nigeria. The new cancer detection and treatment equipment, along with a more advanced training center for medical staff, will transform cancer treatment and detection in Nigeria and across the region. These solutions will make NSIA-LUTH a model for future cancer research facilities across West Africa.

For nearly 30 years, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has been supporting the infrastructure development goals of partner countries like Nigeria, while at the same time, connecting U.S. companies such as Varian to export opportunities in Africa’s growing healthcare market. In November 2015, the Agency hosted a joint Nigerian/Kenyan delegation on a reverse trade mission that introduced delegates to cutting-edge American healthcare sector technologies and solutions. At the time, Nigeria had only six radiation therapy machines, the majority of which were not operational or provided inadequate curation treatments.

Through USTDA’s reverse trade mission, the African delegation learned about new solutions for cancer detection and treatment manufactured by Varian and other U.S. suppliers. The delegates toured several hospitals and health facilities to gain first-hand experience with the latest U.S. health care technologies. After the U.S. visit, the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Treatment Centre purchased Varian’s Halcyon, an advanced cancer therapy solution which will improve patient capacity and treatment precision. The Halcyon was designed to operate with a 50% reduction of electricity and water requirements, making it an ideal solution for operations in challenging infrastructure environments.

Professor Chris Bode, Chief Medical Director of NSIA-LUTH said, “Varian will also be deploying a Training Centre to our Institution in support of human capacity development in radiotherapy across the sub-region – the first of its kind in West Africa.” Jean-Luc Devleeschauwer, president, Varian Oncology Systems EMEIA, added, “We look forward to the completion of the installation and the education and training of the NSIA-LUTH staff, as the hospital becomes a beacon of hope for cancer patients across the country.”

Varian photo Tom Shannon