A non-governmental organisation (NGO), known as Sebeccly Cancer Care, has said it is committed to educating more women in Lagos communities on the prevention of cervical cancer.
The founder of the organisation, Dr Omolola Salako, said this at a Health Educators and Community Mobilisers Orientation held in Lagos on Friday.
The programme was organised by the NGO, in collaboration with the state Ministry of Health, state Primary Healthcare Board and ACT Foundation.
Salako, a Consultant Radiation Oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, said the organisation wanted to join the global community toward eliminating cervical cancer in Nigeria.
She said: “The cost of cancer care is astronomical when compared to the cost of prevention.
“What we are trying to address today is empowering women in the communities to know that cervical screening is good, beneficial, economical and a life saver.
“We also want to empower our health educators and community mobilisers on their approach toward women, so that we can have more women flocking the primary healthcare centres for cervical screening.“
Salako said that many women that attended the programme presented cases of the condition in advanced stages that could not be cured.
She said that even when presented in early stages, the possibility of curing them was still a challenge as radiotherapy was not readily available.
“Where radiotherapy is available, it is very expensive and not affordable to the greater population.
“There are not enough oncologists and surgeons to carry out surgery in a speedy manner.
“There are some states in the country that do not have surgical oncologists skilled in removing these cancers.
“Back in the clinic, what we are seeing are cases that are incurable, poor quality of life, because they come in with infections,“ she said.
Earlier, the organisation’s #TimetoScreen Programme Officer, Dr Awele Okeke, said it planned to screen about 7,000 women in Alimosho, Ikorodu, and Lagos Island Local Government Areas (LGAs).
“Sebeccly inaugurated the #TimetoScreen project in 2017 and in two years, it has screened about 5,000 women.
“This year, the NGO wants to go a step further to screen 7,000 women and to this effect, we have partnered with the state ministry of health and our sponsors, ACT Foundation, to bring this initiative to the community.
“To screen 7,000 women, we have decided to train 30 community mobilisers and health education officers so they can pass the accurate message across to women in the community,” Okeke said.
Two participants described the programme as timely, saying that many women in the community were ignorant about cervical cancer and the importance of screening.
One of them, Mrs Abiodun Orojakinwa, the Chairman, Social Mobilisers Committee, Alimosho LGA, said that finance remained women’s major inhibition against going for screening.
“Many women have been looking for the opportunity to get screened but they lacked the finance.
“We appreciate Sebeccly for bringing this initiative and screening our women free of charge. This will go a long way to helping many women,” Orojakinwa said.
Also, a Health Educator, Mrs Kowiu Kazeem, said she would go into the community to sensitise the women so that they could take the opportunity to get screened.
Kazeem said: “We will make sure we inform women in our communities. This way, more women will be screened, thereby reducing cases of cervical cancer in our country.
“When they get screened, they will be assured about their status and we the educators will know the next step to take, if anyone is detected to have the condition.“