By Stephen Adeleye.
A nongovernmental organisation, Dove-Haven Foundation (DHF), has trained volunteer health personnel on screening of cervical cancer to enable the organisation reach out to more people in terms of cancer screening and testing.
The DHF Executive Director, Dr Ekundayo Samuel, made this known on Thursday in Isanlu, Kogi State, at the official launching of DHF as part of activities to commemorate the 2021 World Cancer Day (WCD), with the theme: ”A World Without Cancer Threat”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the world cancer day is celebrated every February 4, to raise awareness on early screening, testing and prevention strategy on cancer.
According to Samuel, DHF is an NGO, non political and non profitable organisation, aimed at promoting the health and well-being of the populace by reducing cancer threat.
”We create awareness on early screening, testing and prevention strategy. We also support patients that are already suffering from cancer, and at the moment we are also trying to reinstate a few survival.
”We are happy that today we are officially launching the NGO, which will enable us to start our full operation to see how we can actually help the people”, he said.
The executive director noted that the Six-Day activities to mark 2021 cancer day, had commenced on Monday with awareness campaign, symposium, lectures and training of health personnel on cervical cancer screening.
”DHF trained health personnel on Tuesday and Wednesday on cancer screening because if we have enough people well trained, it will enable us to screen more people. Today and Friday is for cancer screening and counselling.
”We are also inline with the WHO mandates on global strategy on cancer, launched in 2020.
”We have 90-70-90 per cent Strategy that had already been put in place by WHO, and DHF is keying into implementing the strategy”, Samuel said.
According to him, the 90-70-90 strategy means that in the next 10 years (2030), 90 per cent of all girls would have been vaccinated, 70 of all women would have been screened, and 90 of those who have cancer would have received effective treatment.
He added: ”This is part of what we are doing this week to mark the 2021 world cancer day”.
Samuel stressed that Nigeria was actually having a serious challenge of cancer menace, saying ”for every patient of cancer in Nigeria, eight out of 10 will die within 5 years period, but reverse is the case in developed countries like Europe where eight out of 10 cancer patients would survive within the same 5 years period.
”Why can’t we have a better healthcare management in Nigeria? That is why we are putting our own efforts to see what we can do.
”We are conducting free health check and full cancer screening for all women and men that will turnout, to see if we can pick any form of cervical or prostrate cancer.
”Our target today is to screen between 200 to 300 women for cervical and breast cancer, and within 80 to 100 men for prostate cancer. The screening would continue regularly because we already have a screening centre here in Isanlu, Yagba East LGA, Kogi State”.
He, therefore, called for effective collaborations among the relevant stakeholders, such as government, corporate organisations, NGOs, and donor partners.
The executive director reaffirmed the commitment of DHF to encouraging the people, that it was possible not to have cancer, it was also possible to overcome cancer, but it should be a war that everyone must come together to fight and win.
He urged everybody in Nigeria and globally to support the vision of DHF in its aggressive fight against the menace of cancer, saying, ”we are determined to winning the war through hardwork to ensure we meet our target.”
He noted that breast cancer was common among women while prostrate cancer was common among men.
One of the participants, Justina Komolafe, told NAN that she had benefitted a lot from the two-day training, saying, ”this is the first training programme I will have on cancer screening: it is a great opportunity”.
In his remarks, the DHF Patron, Prof. Eyitayo Lambo, commended the DHF executive director for his initiative to establish the NGO, aimed at reducing cancer prevalence in Nigeria and beyong through prevention, management, research and advocacy activities.
Lambo, a former Nigeria’s Minister of Health, who gave his remarks virtually from Atlanta Georgia, USA, called for support for DHF from individuals, organisations and donor partners, to enable DHF meets its vision of ‘a world without cancer threat’.
NAN reports that many guest speakers delivered virtual lectures via Zoom at the event to commemorate the 2021 World Cancer Day. Dr Rahmatu Hassan, former National Coordinator of NCCP, Federal Ministry of Health, presented a paper on ”Cancer Control: The Role of Individuals, Government and NGOs”.
On his part, Prof. Mark Baresford, from RUH Bath, England, UK, spoke on ”Impact Of COVID-19 Pandemic On Cancer Burden: Any Hope For The Underserved Communities?”.