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How Innocent Chukwuma ‘contributed to fight against cancer in Nigeria’

How Innocent Chukwuma ‘contributed to fight against cancer in Nigeria’
April 14
10:46 2021

Innocent Chukwuma, the late civil society leader, has been eulogised for his contribution to the fight against cancer in Nigeria.

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In a tribute on Tuesday, Abia Nzelu, executive secretary of GivingTide international, narrated how Chukwuma helped open the door for the acquisition of a fleet of mobile cancer centres in the country.

He said the late activist contributed to the project through his support for the publication of a book on corporate philanthropy in Nigeria in his role as the West Africa director of Ford Foundation.

“We first met Mr. Chukwuma in 2014, at a period we were advocating for the acquisition and deployment of Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs), in order to take free wholistic preventive Cancer care to the grassroots of Nigeria, as part of ‘the BIG WAR Against Cancer’,” he wrote.

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“Before meeting Chukwuma, we had met other grant-making CEOs, some of whom gave us the convenient excuse that Cancer fell outside their thematic area(s); Innocent Chukwuma was radically different. 

“After listening to our presentation and asking some hard questions, Innocent told us that while Cancer was outside Ford’s thematic areas, he would think of a way for the Foundation to support the basic idea of concerted and catalytic philanthropy, which is our cornerstone. 

“This led to months of research and the eventual publication of our seminal book titled “Giving in Nigeria – an Environmental Scan of Corporate Philanthropy”, solely funded by the Ford Foundation.

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“The thoughtfulness of Chukwuma in supporting this publication helped to open other doors, so that a fleet of Mobile Cancer Centres was eventually acquired and has been deployed to great effect by the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP); a nonprofit initiative of mass medical mission.”

“Moreover, the project is now at the phase of establishing the first Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CCC) in Nigeria. Innocent Chukwuma did not refuse to do what he could do, just because he could not do everything we proposed.”

Nzelu further said Chukwuma’s pedigree as an advocate of civil rights has left an “enduring seal on the national and global arena.”

He urged Nigerians and everyone mourning the late civil society leader to “rededicate ourselves to the values to which he devoted his extraordinary life, especially the fight against inequality and injustice.”

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“A crucial way of doing so is for all his friends, associates and admirers to go all out in waging the BIG War Against Cancer in Nigeria,” he added.

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