Rotary Club joins fight to prevent cervical cancer
Members of Rotary International District 9110, an organisation that has over the years impacted thousands of Nigerians, have joined hands to create awareness and tackle the deadly scourge of cervical cancer in women.
The event, which witnessed the launching of the very first Cervical Cancer Prevention Project, recently held at Estate Junior Grammar School, Town Planning Way, Ilupeju Lagos where 117 secondary school girls were vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that is responsible for cervical cancer in women.
Participants and panelists, drawn from within the state, were present to discuss the prevailing issues and complications of cervical cancer in women in Nigeria and across the coast. Among those present were District Governor 9110, Jide Akeredolu; Chairman, Dr Adetoun Ade-Davies; Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, represented by Mrs. Tayo Olufemi and Tutor General, Lagos State Ministry Of Education, represented by Seun Olalekan.
Dr. Jide Akeredolu spoke about the alarming death rate of women in Nigeria due to the virus. He added that cervical cancer is the second commonest cancer in the world, breast cancer being the first.
“According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), 36 women die in one day from cervical cancer and invariably, this means that one woman dies every 55 minutes from cervical cancer. I have seen quite a few women die of cervical cancer and I can tell you, they die a slow, painful and agonising death. It is a terrible kind of death.”
He pointed out that the main reason for organising such a project was to take up the burden and fight against the disease by vaccinating young girls across the country and beyond against HPV, and consequently achieve the goal of a cervical cancer-free generation.
He said: “Cervical cancer is one of the few cancers in medicine that can be completely prevented by vaccination. Once a girl child is vaccinated against the HPV, she is prevented from the infection, and consequently protected from cervical cancer plus the protection guarantees immunity to the disease completely through life. This is why we have taken it up. “Cervical cancer vaccination has never been done in Nigeria or Africa, hence we have decided to go all out, moving from school to school with this project. We aim to save 10,000 girls every year by issuing out this vaccine and it is also our goal to achieve a cancer-free generation just like we achieved a polio-free nation in 1995.”
Speaking on behalf of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Tayo Olufemi conveyed the support of the state government towards the event.
“The State government is in full support of this because we cannot do it alone. The state government is always happy when organisations like Rotary come up with this kind of intervention schemes. Truly, we have a lot of diseases affecting our women, so it is a project that is very much appreciated at this point in time.”