A Bill for a law to establish Lagos State Cancer Research Institute went through second reading in the Lagos State House of assembly on Monday July 11, 2016.

The private member bill was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and is titled; “A Bill For A Law To establish The Lagos State Cancer Institute, To Provide For The Promotion, Aid and Co-ordination Of Researches Relating To Cancer And Cancer Related Illness And For Connected Purposes.”

The bill, which has since been committed to the House Committee on Health with a mandate to submit a report on it in one month’s time, recommended that the Institute would provide affordable and subsidized medical care for cancer patients; and carry out research on terminal diseases especially, among others.

The Bill further recommended a Governing Board that shall consist three medical professionals who shall be professors of medicine or consultants; a member of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA); and three members of proven integrity from the public.

According to the Bill, which is divided into 20 sections, members of the Board are to be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Commissioner, and they would be in office for a period of five years.

It was also recommended that a General Manager, who shall be the Chief Executive Officer, shall be appointed for the institute by the Governor.

The functions of the Institute, according to the Bill, shall also include provision of medical assistance to cancer patients that cannot afford the cost of treatment in the State; ensuring that cancer patients are fairly treated and
provided for; and provide palliative supports for cancer patients amongst others.

In his comment on the Bill, the Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Hon. Segun Olulade said that a lot of people had lost their lives to the disease.

He said that the institute on cancer would provide medical assistance to patients who could not afford treatment.

According to him, if the Bill is passed by the assembly, the state would save a lot of lives.

Also commenting, the Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh said that cancer is not only the terminal disease in the world, and advised that the scope of the Bill should be expanded to accommodate other terminal diseases.

He also recommended that the institute should be under the control of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospiatal (LASUTH).

Another lawmaker, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu supported the position of Hon. Muyiwa Jimoh that the institute needed to incorporate other terminal diseases.

“The bill is key and appropriate for any nation that cares for the welfare of its citizens,” he said.

Hon. Sola Giwa, who also contributed to the discussion stated that cancer is very difficult for anybody to manage, and congratulated the Speaker for coming up with such a Bill.

Also, another member of the House, Hon. Dayo Saka-Fafunmi said, ” it is something that will make a change in the lives of average of Lagosians. It will provide relief and succour to most of the cancer patients in the state. Cancer is common now. The institute will provide a veritable source of employment for the people.”

He however urged the House to give the institute targets as it is done all over the world to see if it would meet the expectations of the people.

In his comment, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade said that the institute should be funded by the philanthropists and the government to take care of cases of indigent cancer patients.

The Bill was also supported by Hon. Lanre Ogunyemi, who said that it is a bill that “we all must support not only for passage but with our resources. Cancer can be very expensive to treat by the poor masses.”

The sponsor of the Bill, Speaker Obasa, who rounded off the discussion said that, “we have a lot of NGOs that are dealing with this disease but there is no coordinating centres for them. I am sure a lot of people will contribute to its survival, even the foreign bodies will want to lend their support.” He also added that efforts are being made to do the needful as he said that it will help a lot of indigent cancer patients.

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