Health: Foundation sensitizes secondary school students on cancer, cervical prevention
A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora (OCI) Foundation has organised a symposium on Breast Self-Examination for secondary school students in Anambra with a view to reduce deaths caused by breast and cervical cancers.
The founder and President of OCI Foundation, Dr Chris Ifediora occasion at Umueri in Anambra that Nigeria was still lagging behind in the provision of free screenings to prevent and detect the cancers.
Ifediora said more worrying was that majority of those diagnosed with cancers in the communities lack financial prowess to undertake proper medical care.
“For those who are lucky to survive these deadly cancers, the heavy financial costs of undergoing the required treatments, as well as the inevitable physical and psychological complications associated with then make the prospect of facing such illness unpalatable.
“However, with the right knowledge, the right attitude and the right practices, the risks of breast and cervical cancers can be minimized,” he said.
The president said the symposium was therefore organized to create breast awareness and how young women can regularly look for symptoms that will alert them to danger.
He explained that the foundation chose secondary school students for the symposium to make them adopt lifestyles needed to limit the occurrences of breast and cervical cancers.
Ifediora disclosed that there were plans to evaluate the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of participants after six months to ensure the desired effect.
The president, who said the programme was organized in collaboration with the Foundation for Health and Development in Anambra East, Anambra West and Ayamelum local government areas, noted that plans were on to extend the reach across the state.
Ifediora was represented by the Foundation’s Legal Adviser, Mr Onyechi Ononye at the occasion.
In a remark, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, wife of Anambra Governor expressed worry over the increasing cases of breast and cervical cancers.
Mrs Obiano said the state government was determined to sustain its health education and sensitization programmes on the various illnesses and prevention methods, but said a lot more needed to be done.
The governor’s wife, who was represented by Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, solicited support of well-meaning individuals and organisations to minimize cases of breast and cervical cancers in the state.
She said the state government was renovating and equipping 63 health centres across the state as well as improving the staffing to make them more efficient.
According to her, the 63 centres will be networked to form part of the proposed state health insurance scheme coming on board.
While commending the Foundation for creating awareness on breast and cervical cancers prevention among students, the governor’s wife urged the participants to practice the techniques of breast self-examination monthly.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Education, Prof Kate Omenugha said the state government was poised to sustaining the Save School Initiative aimed at ensuring a healthy environment in all schools.
Omenugha enjoined the students to be conscious of their mind, body, and soul to help them attain higher heights educationally.
In a lecture entitled “Guide to breast self-examination and breast cancer prevention strategies” Dr Emmanuel Azuike urged the students to reduce the risk of breast by maintaining a healthy body weight and make the breast self-examination a monthly routine.
“Eat a healthy diet; avoid high fatty or sugary diet; avoid smoking, and eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables daily,” Azuike, a Consultant Public Health Medicine Physician, said.
Miss Maryan Moukwugwo, a participant and SS2 student of Stella Maris College, Umueri, said the lecture had awaken her consciousness on how to guard her health against breast cancer.
The awareness programme was organised for 432 female students selected from 26 Government-owned secondary schools in the Otuocha educational zone of the state.
The occasion also witnessed the presentation of a 20-minute video demonstration on techniques of breast self-examination as well as presentation of information fact sheets.