Abuja joins C/Can in multilateral commitment to transform cancer care

03 August 2023 – Abuja, Nigeria – In a momentous step forward, the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Capital Territory Administration, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Medicaid Cancer Foundation, and City Cancer Challenge Foundation (C/Can) have signed Memorandum of Understanding to address the acute cancer burden in Abuja, Nigeria. 

Cancer is responsible for 79,000 deaths and approximately 124,000 new cases in Nigeria each year (1), accounting for the second highest cancer burden in Africa (2). The multistakeholder commitment by national and subnational governments, international health organisations and civil society, represents a key milestone in Nigeria’s ongoing efforts against cancer

Engr, P. Funso Adebiyi, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, commented on the agreement’s significance:

This collective effort strengthens the Ministry’s commitment to fostering a healthier Nigeria by urgently reducing our country’s cancer incidence and mortality.

Guided by the principle that cities are crucial to driving meaningful change through local engagement and global partnerships, the C/Can initiative supports cities to develop data-driven, locally relevant and sustainable cancer care solutions. 

Given Nigeria’s sizable population within the region, Abuja’s partnership with C/Can carries immense potential for broad-scale impact on our health systems and the health of our population

said Mr Olusade Adesola, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory Administration.


To ensure the success of the initiative, the city of Abuja has, over the last two years, conducted assessments to inform the development of a strategy to implement the project, culminating effectively in a three-year City Engagement Process. 

Isabel Mestres, CEO for C/Can, confirmed progress has already been made:

Throughout 2022, with the support of C/Can, Abuja has undertaken a robust due diligence process. This has provided a comprehensive understanding of the local cancer care landscape, paving the way for the next steps, including the launch of a three-year City Engagement Process.

The C/Can City Engagement Process will be led by a local governance body, the City Executive Committee, with the support of a dedicated city manager, to engage stakeholders in identifying needs, and implementing locally-created cancer care solutions.

Alone, we can do a lot. However, as partners, we can strengthen Abuja’s cancer ecosystem. I am certain that this partnership with C/Can will achieve the much-needed transformation

said Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, CEO of the Medicaid Cancer Foundation.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative in Nigeria will bring their global health expertise and on-the-ground experience to ensure the continuity of local solutions. Owens Wiwa, Executive Vice President, West and Central Africa; Country Director – Nigeria, of the Clinton Health Access Initiative noted:

Through C/Can, we have an unparalleled opportunity to ensure that progress made in cancer care at a city level will benefit the most people in both Abuja and the rest of Nigeria.

Abuja’s successful application to join C/Can was supported by the FCT Administration and Ministry of Health of Nigeria and led by a task force of leading organisations, including civil society. Abuja is the 14th city and the fourth African city to join the growing C/Can network alongside Kumasi (Ghana), Kigali (Rwanda) and Nairobi (Kenya). 

C/Can is set to launch a new call for city applications later in 2023


  1. https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/populations/566-nigeria-fact-sheets.pdf
  2. Sharma R, Aashima, Nanda M, Fronterre C, Sewagudde P, Ssentongo AE, Yenney K, Arhin ND, Oh J, Amponsah-Manu F and Ssentongo P (2022) Mapping Cancer in Africa: A Comprehensive and Comparable Characterization of 34 Cancer Types Using Estimates From GLOBOCAN 2020. Front. Public Health 10:839835. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.839835: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2022.839835/full
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