THE Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora Foundation (OCIF), a charity organisation, has solicited the collaboration of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, in the fight against breast and cervical cancer in Anambra.
The foundation’s Legal Adviser, Mr Onyechi Ononye, made the appeal when he led a delegation on a visit to the institution’s Dean of Students’ Affairs, Prof. Stanley Udedi on Wednesday.
Ononye expressed concern at the high prevalence of breast and cervical cancer in the country which, he noted, had recorded many deaths almost on a daily basis.
“The need to intervene against breast and cervical cancer is inspired by the deaths recorded due to the ailment.
“In Nigeria, about 50.3 million women aged 15 years or more are at risk of developing cervical cancer and about 8,240 of the 14,089 that had the disease in 2017, died.
“Projections have it that by 2025, cervical cancer deaths may rise by 63 per cent among affected women aged 65 years or less and 50 per cent for those older than 65 years,” he said.
Ononye noted that about 3.3 per cent of breast cancer cases in Nigeria were reported among women aged 25 years or less, with one being reported in a patient as young as 14 years.
The legal adviser said that in spite of the risk faced by young female adults, poor level of knowledge about breast and cervical cancers existed among secondary school girls in the country.
He said the foundation through its flagship health programme, “Arm Our Youths (ArOY) Campaign”, had secured Anambra Government’s approval to include breast and cervical cancer education in the academic curriculum of secondary schools.
“A 28-man team of stakeholders and technocrats recommended that the event commences in the next academic session by Sept. 15.
“In preparation for this, a three-day workshop to train the relevant school teachers has been scheduled from Sept. 10 to Sept. 12,” he disclosed.
Ononye said that the curriculum had been designed to present a life-saving practical, inexpensive and sustainable solution to the identified limitations of breast and cervical cancer.
The legal adviser added that the campaign was endorsed by Harvard Medical School, U.S., while the Griffith University, Australia, was overseeing its research/evaluation component.
Responding, the Dean of Students Affairs, Udedi, commended the foundation for the humanitarian initiative which, he noted, would advance the health of the society, especially women.
“I have done a background check on you and will, therefore, put forward recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor,” he assured.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the campaign is being championed by the President of the Foundation, Dr Onyebuchi Ifediora, an Associate Professor of Medicine and Griffith University, Australia.
NAN also reports that cancer, also called malignancy, is an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer, including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma.
Symptoms vary depending on the type. Cancer treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery.