As the world cancer day 2020 was being celebrated all over the world, Kwara State government has screened three thousand women for different types of cancer at designated centres in ilorin metropolis.
Addressing members of the Civil Society Coalition for Cancer Eradication in Nigeria (CiSCANEN) and medical personnel who participated in the enlightenment cum screening exercise, the Honourable Commissioner for Health Raji Razaki said that Cancer is responsible for about 72000 deaths in Nigeria every year with estimated additional 102 cases detected annually.
Dr Raji Razaq while flagging off the programme said the ministry has engaged experts to screen at least 3000 Kwara residents for breast and cervical cancer, as approved by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
The commissioner said officials have been dispatched to specific centres in the local governments to conduct the screening as well as educate citizens on the various causes of cancer and the rate of its prevalence and related death statistics.
He added that the government’s steps, a reflection of its care for people’s health, were partly informed by appeal by the Federal Ministry of Health to all state governments to mobilise resources against cancer, including upping public enlightenment.
He said at least 24million people are afflicted with cancer worldwide, with 12.5percent of deaths traced to the disease.
Dr Razaq said the ministry held a mini rally on Tuesday in the state capital Ilorin to create awareness on the disease and to mobilise citizens for screening at Maraba motor park — one of the many centres for the screening in the state.
He said the ministry will soon begin radio programmes to enlighten the public on the causes of cancer and various prevention mechanisms.
“Thanks to the Governor’s approval, we are using the latest technology in the state for screening for breast and cervical cancer. Provisions have also been made to purchase latest equipment,” he said.
Raji added that the commonest of these cases include Breast, Cervical, Lung and Colorectal, Prostate, Liver and Pancreas all of which is what attracted the attention of Governor AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman whose primary concern is the well being of kwarans.
The commissioner who applauded the gesture of His Excellency the Governor of kwara State for releasing funds for the awareness campaign and free screening for three thousand Kwarans as a pilot exercise for the planned free states wide screening exercise.
He said: “I want to use this opportunity to thank His Excellency for the provision of funds for cancer programmes and other health programmes in the state.”
“The leading role of Her Excellency, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq for the positive role towards the course of Women and children welfare. Her support for Imunization will help reduce the prevalence of liver cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer to mention a few.”
The Commissioner also appreciated the role of Coalitions, faith based organizations, ministry of health officials who made the World cancer day 2020 awareness campaign a success in the state.
Speaking on the initiative, Dr Stephen Arigidi, Deputy Director of Medical Science and Training in the kwara State Ministry of Health expressed satisfaction at the turnout of women for the exercise remarking that of the women screened at the flag off on Tuesday, one hundred and fifty of them were referred to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital for further treatment.
He said that most people are ignorant of the disease which he said is very dangerous to human body and accounts for 72000 deaths in Nigeria every year.
Arigidi was of the opinion that the state governments gesture is a right step in the right direction adding that the plans to make it a state wide programme will make it better for the people as those in the remote parts of Kwara will also enjoy in the initiative of government.
He said that the town wide enlightenment campaign was also successful in that all core areas of the town was reached distributing fliers to further educate the people about cancer and where to go when they need to know their status.
Arigidi said women of productive age are most prone to cervical and breast cancer, adding that it is always better for them to submit themselves for early screening and treatment in the case of early detection.
He commended the administration for offering free screening and early treatment of cancer in the state.
In his comment on the world cancer day 2020 and the response of government of kwara State, Mr Banjo Famuyiwa, the State Coordinator, Civil Society for Cancer Eradication in Nigeria (CiSCANEN) expressed satisfaction and fulfillment in the way Kwara State government welcome the cancer day plans and also keyed into it as a pet project of the state.
He said that if past administrations had granted similar support for cancer eradication in the state, the programme would have gone a long way in having structure at ministry of health, thereby sustainable.
He however said that his team will continue to give supportive hand to government in the state wide screening exercise of the state.
Famuyiwa thanked all parties in the progress of the 2020 world cancer day.
Also commenting, Dr Mrs Zainab Bolajoko Balogun, Vice President, CiSCAEN, Kwara State Branch, expressed gratitude to the Excecutive Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman and his wife Dr Olufolake AbdulRahman for his pioneering effort to create awareness on cancer existence and eradication for women in the state.
Balogun also commended all participants that ensured the success of world cancer day 2020 is a success in Kwara State adding that God is also happy that the voiceless and helpless now have hope that they will not have to die of cancer but live a fruitful life and be productive to the society in their life time.
She scored the programme 90 percent success score in view of large turnout of women who came out for screening, level of government support and the cooperation gotten from all stake holders towards the success of the programme.
Notable among the coalition that made inputs towards the success of the programme includes Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Medical Women Association of Nigeria( MWAN) , Nigerian Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED), Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and others in the state.