An Australian-based Charity Organisation, the Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora (OCI) Foundation, in collaboration with Anambra Government has inaugurated the Arm Our Youth (ArOY) health Campaign against breast and cervical cancers.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the campaign is designed to be a wide-reaching, sustainable and cost-effective way of spreading anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer messages.
Speaking at the launch in Awka on Tuesday, the President of the Foundation, Prof. Chris Onyebuchi, explained that the campaign primarily targeted students across all senior secondary schools in the country.
According to him, relevant teaching on anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer are being introduced into the regular academic curriculum, along with assessment and examination systems.
“The beauty of the ArOY Campaign is that, should this ever be the case, the campaign’s beneficiaries will already be well prepared and ready to, not only embrace these changes when they come, but to actively seek for the interventions.
“Of the roughly 14,000 Nigerian women diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, just over 8,000 will die.
“This leaves families, husbands, children and a whole lot of others, devastated.
,” he said.
The president said the implementation of the initiative had begun in Anambra with the inauguration and would be expanded to other states of the country by 2025.
He expressed the foundation’s willingness to work with anyone, and with any group, and with all interested governmental or non-governmental bodies to actualise a nationwide implementation of the project.
“It is a unique campaign because the programme has an evaluation (research) component, which is being overseen by the Griffith University School of Medicine, Australia.
“It is unique because the ideas behind it were developed with significant input from the prestigious Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA), and has a formal endorsement from that great institution,” he added.
Prof. Kate Omenugha, Anambra Commissioner for Basic Education and chairman of the occasion, described cervical and breast cancers as the major changes of healthcare in developing countries like Nigeria.
Omenugha, who was represented by Dr Ray Ofor, called for concerted efforts to educate women of child bearing age on the symptoms of the breast and cervical cancers.
While assuring that the state government would continue to partner with the foundation to ensure successful implementation of the campaign in the state, the commissioner urged Nigerians to join the campaign.
In his speech, the Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone, commended the health initiative, its focus on youths and sustainability measures.
“Anytime you want to carry out any diagnostic health experiment in the country, you must start with the youth otherwise, it fails,” he said.
“Our commitment to this project is total, complete and all emcompassing to further help take the message beyond the state,” he assured.
Esimone advised the foundation to set up a Trust Fund to further sustain the project beyond the state.
“We have set out modalities to involve the Students Union Government (SUG) and NAU Women Association to build the campaign into the orientation programme for fresh students and those going for National Youth Service Corps,” he added.
reports that the event was graced by over 22 Nollywood artistes led by Ebele Okaro as well as schools’ principals, students and officials in the education sector.
The highlight of the event was the unveiling of CERVIBREAST mobile application which focuses on the ArOY campaign and relevant teachings on Self-Breast Examination among others.
It also witnessed the presentation of certificates to Omenugha as ArOY Sponsor and to Okaro as ArOY Ambassador.
and Mrs Joy Ulasi, former Chairman of the state Post Primary Secondary School Commission as ArOY Champions.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)