A world class Cancer treatment facility called ASI Ukpo Comprehensive Cancer Centre has opened in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, south-south Nigeria.
The facility which is the first of its kind in the south-south and south-east Nigeria was officially unveiled by the deputy governor of Cross River state, Professor Ivara Esu.
Esu, who commended the family of the late Brigadier General Anthony Ukpo for following through with the vision of the sage, noted that, “This is a legacy that must be sustained. This is the kind of investment we need to benefit our people and humanity in general and that is why we have the state’s health insurance scheme to make healthcare affordable for the poor.”
The Pioneer Chief Medical Director of the centre, Dr. Gbenga Kajogbola, described ASI Ukpo Comprehensive Cancer Centre as the first of its kind in the Niger Delta and south-east region of Nigeria.
Kajogbola said, “This represents hope and all what everybody would ever think of when it comes to healthcare because what people go for in India, United States of America, Germany and others, have been brought to your doorstep. I am very happy to be a part of this large project, which I know will definitely bring a lot of hope to families.
“This is the most affordable cancer treatment centre in sub-Saharan Africa. It is shocking to note that a private institution will have this kind of inclination and that is due to the intention of the ownership, Brigadier General Ukpo, who decided to invest in healthcare to ensure people actually get access to quality care”
The Executive Director of the centre, Mr Yegwa Ukpo, the son of the founder, late Brigadier General Anthony Ukpo, former Military Administrator of Rivers State, described the official launch of the centre as a big relief.
Ukpo, who recalled with nostalgia the beginning of the facility as a diagnostic centre and its expansion to include comprehensive cancer care under his late father, expressed delight that his father’s vision was finally alive.
“My dad was a cancer survivor, he had prostate cancer and was able to survive that. Unfortunately, he lost 3 of his siblings to cancer. So having had that personal interaction with cancer as an individual and in his family, he decided to do this.”
Ukpo expressed the hope that the facility would address medical tourism and brain drain, stating the staff excellence. You can see that Nigerians perform amazingly when they go overseas, but to be honest what they lack is just facilities. This facility is state-of-the-art, it is top-notch. What we use for radiotherapy is top of the line model in the world.
“Also people do not have to go overseas anymore. They now have this facility where they can spend naira and get the quality treatment that they need. So medical tourism is one of the things that we want to address. Calabar has always been a tourists’ destination and we are just adding to that facet of tourism. Now people can come in for medical and not just recreation.”