5,000 Women in Ondo to Benefit from Cancer Screening and Treatments

Friday Omosola

The Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Banji Ajaka has said no fewer than 5,000 women across the State are going to benefit from the state government’s free secondary prevention programme for cervical cancer in 2022.

Dr Ajaka made this known at a public lecture held yesterday to commemorate the 2022 edition of the World Cancer Day in Akure.

Ajaka, who was represented by Dr Ayodele Adelusi, the Director, Hospital Services of the Ministry said the programme was initiated by the state government in collaboration with Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Dr Ajaka said: “In view of the serious health challenge posed by cancer as one of the leading causes of death worldwide, February 4 was set aside to raise awareness about prevention, detection and treatment of the deadly disease.”

He further stated that cancer is one of the leading causes of death across the world, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020.

“Cancer arises from the transformation of normal cells into tumour cells in a multi-stage process that generally progresses from a precancerous lesion to a malignant tumour.

“These changes are the result of the interaction between a person’s genetic factors and external agents, namely physical, chemical and biological carcinogens.

“Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, some untreated infections, exposure to ionizing radiations, physical inactivity and air pollution are risk factors for cancer,” he said.

The commissioner let out that the World Cancer Day was designed to inspire change and mobilise action long after the day itself, describing cancer as a preventable and curable disease if detected early and adequately treated.

He noted that the new cancer campaign is a 3-year campaign for impact tagged: “Close The Care Gap” which would translate to more exposure and engagement, more opportunities to build global awareness and create more impacts.

Speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Prof. Dayo Faduyile, shared light on the need for adequate sensitisation and counselling of cancer patients by all stakeholders.

Professor Dayo, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Dr Dolani Gbelela urged individuals to always observe changes in their bodies in order to ensure early detection of cancer.

Mrs Folukemi Aladenoka, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, noted that there was an urgent need to step up efforts geared towards reducing the disease burden.

Aladenoka, represented by the Director of Finance and Administration in the Ministry, Mr Tayo Akeju, said mitigating the challenge posed by cancer equally required listening to the perspectives of people living with the disease and giving them proper medical treatment.

He beseeched individuals to go for regular screening towards ascertaining their status, stressing that it is an effective means of prevention and early detection of the disease.

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Delivering the program lecture, Dr Ndidi Okunnigba, the Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologist, University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital (UNIMEDTH), Akure Complex, said there is a need to remove the barriers that existed in cancer care.

This, according to him, include financial challenges and inadequate information on the disease among others.

Okunnigba also called for more advocacy on the prevention, detection and management strategies for cancer.

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