Sahara Group, an energy and infrastructure conglomerate, has donated N120 million for the acquisition of Mobile Cancer Centres (MCC) to boost Nigeria’s effort to combat the deadly disease.
The MCC is a clinic on wheels with state-of-the-art facilities for screening, follow-up and treatment, including surgeries for pre-cancer and early cancer cases.
The centres would also offer screening services for 10 cancer-related killer diseases, including hepatitis, diabetes, and malaria, among others. Executive Director and Co-Founder of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, said the ultimate goal of the project was to help in improving life expectancy in Nigeria where at least 100,000 cancer cases occur annually.
Sahara Group made the donation when Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, and Patron of #GivingTuesday hosted stakeholders committed to tackling the cancer scourge across the nation through the supply of MCCs.
The #GivingTuesday initiative was started by the United Nations Foundation in 2012 to drive philanthropy globally through private and public sector collaboration.
The leaders of many nations, including Presidents and Governors have become patrons of the philanthropic movement, whose activities in Nigeria are powered by Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria) co-promoted by six core bodies of the Organized Private Sector (OPS Nigeria).
Mr. Cole said Sahara Group was delighted to be part of the initiative, which he described as “crucial to the success of addressing the cancer scourge sustainably.”
“Through the interventions we continue to make via the vehicle of Sahara Foundation, we remain even more convinced that it is possible to address socio-economic and health challenges globally when willing stakeholders pool resources together,” Mr. Cole said.
He said the Group was passionate about sharing and giving to causes in line with its focus on Education & Capacity Building, Health, Environment and Sustainable Community Development, to transform lives, communities, businesses and nations.
“Nothing gives us more joy than touching lives since we started bringing energy to live as Sahara 20 years ago,” Mr. Cole stated.
He said already, Sahara Foundation hopes to adopt the extrapreneurship strategy to drive integrated economic empowerment programmes for 12 million beneficiaries over the next four years through skills acquisition training, mentoring and access to a network of committed stakeholders.
The extrapreneurship framework is “to produce a platform that finds, creates and connects young people with business interests in emerging markets.”
Over the years, Sahara has supported several cancer programmes within and outside Nigeria to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with cancer.
Mr. Cole explained that the aim of the campaign was to enlighten the public about the disease, detect it at the early stage and promote long-term survival rates.
The programmes, he said, were implemented through awareness walks, educative sessions, free screening for men and women and the provision of treatment for an agreed number of positive cases.
Some of Sahara Foundation’s cancer awareness programmes include annual Sponsorship of Prostate Cancer Surgeries, Lagos.
Prostate cancer, which occurs in a man’s prostate, is one of the most common types of cancer found in men and more predominant among men of the black race and the risk of contracting increases as one advance in age.
“To reduce the preventable loss of lives from the scourge, Sahara Foundation supports the Thomas John Prostate Foundation annually to provide treatment of those suffering from prostate cancer. This has benefited nine men till date,” Mr Cole said.