The wife of Kebbi State Governor, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu is galvanising support to eliminate Cervical Cancer in Nigeria.
Dr. Bagudu, the Founder and CEO of Medicaid Cancer Foundation was at the Palace of the Emir of Argungu on Tuesday where she joined other stakeholders to amplify the Global strategy to eliminate Cervical Cancer.
The wife of the governor, was received in the palace by the Emir of Argungu, His Royal Highness Alhaji Samaila Muhammad Mera, his Councillors as well as representatives of the Emirs of Gwandu and Zuru. She told the royal father that she was in Argungu to garner support for the elimination of cervical cancer which claims the lives of over 500,000 women annually.
She said cervical cancer was the second most commonest cancer amongst women in Nigeria, with prevalence in low income countries of the world.
Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu who is also a board member of the Union for International Cancer Control and the Chairperson of First ladies Against Cancer, however said that with the declaration of WHO’s global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer last year, ongoing awareness and support from traditional rulers, there is light at the end of the tunnel to eliminate cervical cancer.
According to her ‘ The irony about it is that, despite its high statistics, it is one cancer the narrative can be changed .
‘ We can eliminate cervical cancer by simply following what WHO says by doing early vaccination. We can vaccinate 90 percent of our girls, by regular screening and early treatment.
” There are some countries already doing these, hope Nigeria will be one of these countries by providing screening services, access to the HPV vaccine and giving early treatment,” she averred.
While calling on women to take advantage of the screening opportunity in Kebbi state , she also urged them to maintain regular visit to hospitals to seek for medical care instead of traditional or cultural treatment.
She callied on parents, husbands and the civil society organizations to support this noble cause.
She expressed profound appreciation to the Emir of Argungu for his laudable support and for mobilising people of his Emirate for the awareness campaign, to eliminate cervical cancer.
She also appreciated other traditional,religious and community leaders for their support to the programme.
” I am grateful to the Emir for allowing us to not only light up the palace but also, to make that symbolic act that will allow people of his emirate and kingdom to see and ask questions of what we are doing so that they can be aware of what we are saying.
”The lighting up of the Emir ‘s palace was to create awareness and educate the public on the causes,signs, symptoms and treatment of cervical cancer,” she said.
She prayed and hoped that the experience of the Emir in the elimination of polio would also bear in the elimination of Cervical Cancer in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mohammad Mera assured the wife of the Governor of their commitment towards eliminating cervical cancer.
He called for the involvement of traditional rulers in the country,particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria ,to support the move to eliminate cervical cancer.
The traditional ruler advocated for the enactment of a law for the elimination of cancer.
He appealed to heads of households to allow their wives and children to go for screening, and immunization against breast and cervical cancer for females and Prostate cancer for males .
He further charged Imams to take the campaign to their various places of worship, so as to enlighten people about it.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Health, Hon. Jafar Muhammad said the awareness campaign was to educate the public on what cancer is all about.
He announced a plan by the State Government, in collaboration with WHO, CHAI and MedicAid cancer foundation, to conduct breast and cervical cancer screening for over five thousand women in the state.
In their good will messages, Dr. Ishak Lawal of Federal Medical Centre Birnin Kebbi, Dr Ashiru Ladan, who is the State Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA),Professor Mahmoud, from Patients and Destitutes Welfare Organisation (PADWO) and desk officer of the State Cancer Control Programme, Dr Jamilu Muhammad, all galvanized support for the program.
They pointed out that cervical cancer is a dangerous disease that affects many women , pointing out that , a woman is afflicted with cervical cancer in every one minute, while a woman dies of the disease in every three minutes globally.
The speakers called for renewed commitment in the elimination of cervical cancer and other forms of cancer diseases from government and urgent provision of HPV vaccine.
They commended the administration of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu , as well as MedicAid Cancer Foundation for the launching of the State Cancer Control Programme and Indigent Cancer Fund, in addition to equipping the Cancer Centre at the State Medical Center Kalgo.
Dr Ashiru commended the State Government in partnership with World Health Organisation for training fourteen doctors on cervical cervical screening, diagnoses and treatment.
Nurse Hadiza Kola from MCF educated the public on the causes, signs, symptoms of cervical cancer and advised people on early detection, which according to her saves life.
Highlights of the occasion were illuminating Emir of Argungu’s palace in blue color lighting, drama presentation and traditional drum beat to create awareness.