The 2018 World Cancer Congress organised by the Union for International Cancer Control in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has elected 12 new board members to serve a two-year term.
For the first time, a Nigerian, wife of the Kebbi State governor, Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, will serve on the board of the 85 year old organisation which, exists to accelerate the global fight against cancer.
Dr Bagudu is a Pediatrician in addition to being the Founder of Nigerian NGO – Medicaid Cancer Foundation. Her nomination was based on her work in creating awareness, improving early diagnosis and raising funds for cancer patients in the country.
Her election to the UICC Board is expected to give traction, harness global opportunities, and build local capacities to combat cancer. In her profile obtained from UICC, she stated that she hoped to use experience garnered from grassroots mobilisation in her state, to reach global commitments to reduce premature deaths from Non-communicable diseases (NCD) by 25 per cent by the year 2025.
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, UICC has a membership of over 1000 organisations across 160 countries. It partners with bodies such as United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency, World Economic Forum and others to tackle cancer on a global scale.
This year alone, nearly 8 million people will die of cancer and if left unchecked, the number of deaths will increase to 13.2 million per year by 2030. Africa with its problems of poor awareness, late diagnosis and limited access to treatment bears the burden of cancer.
The president of the Nigerian Cancer Society, Prof Sani Mallami, described her election as a breakthrough for low and middle-income countries and called for the urgent implementation of the National Cancer Control plan launched in 2018.
Also at the 2018 congress, Project Pink Blue another Nigerian NGO won the World Cancer Day Spirit award for its event on 4th February. Other bodies present in Malaysia were Breast without spots, Cancer aware, Niola, Dorcas, Raise, Leah and Access to Basic Medical Care.