The speed with which Breast Cancer scourge have continued to ravage especially women resident in the rural areas have attracted the attention of a health-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO): Breast Without Spot Foundation. The Foundation’s worries stem from the near absence of awareness and sensitization to the rural areas where over seventy percent of Breast Cancer cases are prevalent. FRANCIS IGATA reports.
Monitoring the free breast and cervical screening of over 400 women and the dispensing of HPV vaccine to 150 girls, aged 9-14 years, in Enugu-North Senatorial Zone and Nenwe in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State, was an eye-opener to the pains and stress some people go through.
Breast Without Spot Cáncer NGO, a 10-year-old cancer-fighting organization in partnership with the Embassy of Ireland, organized a program tagged: “Operation Rid Rural Enugu of Cancer and Vaccinate Young Girls”. The project which was carried out for two days, spanning 12th – 13th February, in Enugu-North Senatorial Zone and Nenwe in Aninri Local Government Area, included the distribution of free breast and cervical screening to about 400 women and dispensing HPV vaccine to more than 150 girls aged 9-14 years. From the information gathered, all those were fully sponsored through a grant from the Embassy of Ireland.
Each of the two days was kicked-off with a health education on cancer and other non-communicable diseases. The awareness lecture explained what cancer is, the types, risk factors, signs and symptoms. The beneficiaries were also tutored on how to live a healthy lifestyle. All the beneficiaries had their breasts examined through Clinical Breast Examination and Ultrasound of the breasts. The cervical screening was done using ‘Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid’, aka VIA and the procedures were enhanced using a culposcope. Cryotherapy was on ground for patients with precancerous lesions. A proper referral was effected for all patients that screened positive.
While addressing the Women, counder and president of the foundation, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, said: “As a bonus, both ultrasound of the breast and the whole abdomen/pelvis were done for all the beneficiaries of the screening exercise. The young girls who were lucky beneficiaries of the Preventive Vaccination were excited to note how seamless and painless the Vaccination was and are looking forward to our following up their final dose in 6 months”.
“Such concerted action of taking the service to the people in their dwelling places and work/business places is required to reduce avoidable deaths from Cancers, reduce late Cancer detection and disengage Nigeria from its unenviable status of having the worst Cancer death Statistics in Africa and even Globally. Such actions can assist in toppling Nigeria out of that disgraceful position. We call on all Nigerians using the theme of the recently marked ‘4th of February World Cancer Day’, that ‘Together We Can Make A Difference and individually we can also make a significant difference in reducing the Cancer Burden. Yes #WeCanYouCan”.
The women of Nenwe in Aninri council expressed profound gratitude for the opportunity to be part of the programme. They also prayed fervently for the Embassy of Ireland and wished Nigeria learnt from this effort which, according to them, brought so much joy to their community.