BY OLUWATOSIN IGHOTEGUONO
Ondo State government has Organised secondary prevention programme which involves free cervical screening for 5,000 women across the State.
This is part of effort to prevent and possibly eliminate Cervical Cancer among women.
At the flag-off programme held at Ijapo Akure, the State Capital, wife of the Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, who facilitated the gesture by lobbying donor agencies, asserted that effective primary and secondary prevention would prevent most cervical cancer cases.
Flagging off the free screening exercise, she said: “When diagnosed, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively. With a comprehensive approach to prevent, screen and treat, cervical cancer can be eliminated as a public health problem within in this generation “.
Emphasising the need to expand access to treatment for women with precancerous lesions and palliative care for women with invasive cancer, the BRECAN Founder said: “In the year 2018, an estimated 570,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and about 311,000 women died from the disease”.
Mrs Akeredolu noted that there were tools to prevent, detect and treat cervical cancer, which included vaccination of young girls against Humanpapiloma virus( Primary Prevention) and screening of women (secondary prevention) which the state just flagged off.
She, therefore, called for the availability of these tools, saying that: ” Cervical Cancer is driven by inequitable access to those tools”.
Mrs. Akeredolu appreciated the Governor for supporting her in championing the fight against cancer, while lauding the commitment and contributions of World Health Organisation, the Clinton Access Initiative and the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria(BRECAN), towards the implementation of the programme in Ondo State.
She encouraged the selected Health workers for the exercise to put in their best in ensuring that the purpose of the programme is achieved, noting that no woman should die from this highly preventable cancer.
Earlier in his welcome address, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Banji Awolowo Ajaka, had hinted that 10 health facilities had been selected to pilot the screening exercise across the state.
According to him, training of health workers to implement the programme was the next step after the official Flag-off.
“Five thousand (5,000) residents (women) will benefit from free cervical cancer screening across the State three(3) senatorial districts. This will further strengthen our strategy in eliminating cervical cancer among our women in the state”.
Appreciating the governor’s support for the implementation of the programme, the Health Commissioner also lauded BRECAN, and the Foundation for Wives of Ondo State Officials and Female Political Appointees (FOWOSO), for their support towards the actualisation of the State’s Population Based Cancer Registry.
He affirmed that through the commitment of the wife of the Governor, Ondo has been identified as one of the leading states known for taking giant strides in the fight against cancer.
In his goodwill message, the Special Adviser to the governor on health, Prof. Dayo Duyile,appreciated the wife of the Governor for consistently driving cancer awareness campaign.
Also, a Representative of WHO, Mr. Adewale Moses, described the programme as a laudable achievement, noting that Ondo was one of the few states committed to it and assured that the organisation would continually partner the State to achieve the 2030 Vision of eliminating Cervical Cancer.
Dignitaries at the event included the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Health care Board Dr. Francis Akanbiemu, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Pharm. Foluke Aladenola, members of BRECAN, members of FOWOSO, medical personnel among others.