In partnership with key publicly listed companies, the NSE held its first Corporate Challenge to raise awareness about the fight against cancer while running five kilometres through the busy business district in Lagos.
“It is designed to create awareness about the need to have quick and fast diagnostics of cancer because with most of the cancers, if you can catch them early, they can be sorted out,” Oscar Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange told CNBC Africa.
According to the World Health Organisation, Nigeria has the highest cancer death rate in Africa and about 10,000 cancer deaths are recorded annually while 250,000 new cases are recorded yearly.
“The first thing is awareness, the second thing is to raise money to support the acquisition of mobile diagnostic units in all the states of the federation and in the federal capital territory,” Onyema said.
Margaret Adeleke, convener for the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in Nigeria said, “The committee encouraging corporate philanthropy was an idea by the Americas and we picked it from them and decided to bring in six organisations that the corporate bodies are very much involved with.”
According to Adeleke, the idea was to bring the corporates together for them to give back to the community.
Onyema further said, “Our plans are actually to continue as this will be an annual event and we hope that next year, it will be bigger and better, we will continue to shine a bright light on this issue. We hope that very soon, we can buy the first diagnostic centre.”
Only 17 per cent of African countries are said to have sufficiently funded cancer control programmes, while less than half of all the countries globally have functional plans to prevent the disease and provide treatment and care to patients.
“We are supporting a particular cause and we are not a charitable organisation so once we are able to acquire one of these units, we will present it to one of the charities that we are supporting,” Onyema concluded.