U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo joined dignitaries including Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the formal opening of the Marcelle Ruth Cancer Center & Specialist Hospital (MRCC) in Lagos.
The new healthcare facility founded by Dr. Modupe Elebute Odunsi, is equipped with cutting edge American medical diagnostic equipment and is reputed to be Nigeria’s first comprehensive cancer treatment center.
Delivering remarks at the event on Friday, Pierangelo noted that the establishment of the MRCC represents yet another example of the strong partnership between American and Nigerian private sectors to significantly improve public health outcomes.
She also noted that the United States continues to lead the world in medical research, innovation and technology providing solutions to tackle the scourge of cancer and bringing happiness to many, as demonstrated by the ingenious medical devices developed by Varian and GE Healthcare.
She lamented the heavy emotional and financial burden cancer places on patients and their loved ones and expressed optimism that the new health facility will make cancer treatment available locally and significantly reduce medical tourism for cancer care.
“We can only hope that more centers like the MRCC will emerge and that all stakeholders in the health system continue to take big strides towards defeating cancer. Varian, GE and other U.S. medical equipment suppliers are ready to be reliable partners in such effort,” Consul General Pierangelo said.
“It is heartwarming to know that Marcelle Ruth Cancer Center & Specialist Hospital is the first comprehensive healthcare center in Nigeria and perhaps the whole of Africa, with the most advanced radiotherapy treatment. With these diagnosis and treatment capabilities now available in Nigeria at MRCC, Nigerians do not need to travel overseas again to seek medical solutions for any kind of cancer,” she added.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Nigeria recorded nearly 125,000 new cases of cancer in 2020 and about 79,000 cancer-related deaths. That means every hour, fourteen Nigerians are diagnosed of cancer and nine die as a result. By IAEA recommendations, Nigeria should have, at a minimum, 150 working medical linear accelerators. However, there are currently only between 3-5 working machines in the country at any given moment.