The wife of Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has reiterated her commitment to winning the war against Cervical Cancer in Ondo State.
Mrs Akeredolu gave this assurance on Wednesday at the Town Hall meeting on the elimination of Cervical Cancer held at Idanre Local Government Secretariat, Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The Governor’s wife who identified cervical cancer as the second most prevalent cancer in women said the disease must be eliminated from the society, saying”we are very committed to ensuring the vaccination of every girl child in our respective States. We remain focused to ensuring equitable access to the HPV Vaccine.”
Represented by the wife of Deputy Governor, Mrs Oluwaseun Aiyedatiwa, the First Lady who noted that cervical cancer is preventable and that there is a good chance of winning the war against it, applauded the efforts being made by the First Ladies under the aegis of First Ladies Against Cancer (FLAC) towards eliminating cervical cancer in Nigeria.
Mrs Akeredolu said her office, in collaboration with Foundation for Wives of Ondo State Forum Officials and Political Appointees (FOWOSO), and Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria ( BRECAN), has kick-started the WHO global strategy tagged operation 90-70-90, which means it would ensure 90% of girls are vaccinated, 70% of women are screened, and 90% of women identified with Cervical Cancer will receive treatment.
“One year has passed since the launch of the global strategy, but we are sure that with renewed commitment from all stakeholders in ensuring better access to the HPV vaccine, sustainable screening programs and adequate treatment measures, victory is within our reach” She said.
Mrs Akeredolu who affirmed that FLAC is very committed to ensuring vaccination of every girl child in respective states, commended Ondo State Ministry of Health, the Primary Health Care Development Agency, Hospital Management Board, Ministry of Women Affairs and the World Health Organization, as well as religious heads, traditional rulers, among other stakeholders, for collaborating with her in the fight against cervical cancer.
She however charged all stakeholders to spread the words about HPV vaccination as an effective weapon against cervical cancer.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Health, Mrs Folukemi Aladenola, who said it is exactly a year that the global strategy for world cervical cancer elimination was adopted in Nigeria, noted that cervical cancer is preventable and curable if detected early and treated effectively.
Aladenola lamented that cervical cancer remains one of the most common cancer variants in the world and affects more young, under-educated women who live in the world’s poorest countries, stressing that “with the adoption of WHO global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer, the disease will be eliminated as a public health problem to a threshold of 4 per 100,000 women just as
90% of girls will be fully vaccinated with Human Papillomavirus(HPV) vaccine by age 15 years.”
Speaking on the efforts the state government is making against cervical cancer, Mrs Aladenola said the ministry of health is collaborating with well-meaning organisations who are driven by the same passion through the Ondo State 2021 Breast and Cervical Cancer Project, which is a collaborative effort between the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN ) and the State Ministry of Health towards implementing appropriate strategies for preventing early detection and prompt treatment to prevent deaths arising from cervical cancer.
While also applauding the commitment of the Wife of the Governor, Mrs Akeredolu, towards fighting cervical cancer in the state, Mrs Aladenola said the First Lady’s continuous efforts in educating, promoting awareness and consistently providing informational and emotional support to patients and survivors have been so significant in the fight against cervical cancer.
A highlight of the event was a lecture delivered by Dr Ndidi Okunnuga on cervical cancer. Okunnuga elucidated on the risk factors to cervical cancer, which, in her words, include early sex (before age 16), multiple sexual partners, cigarette smoking, among others.
According to her, WHO rates cervical cancer as the 4th most common cancer globally among women.
In his own remarks, the representative of the World Health organisation and Ondo State coordinator, Akinola Fatiregun, applauded Mrs Akeredolu for all her laudable initiatives to increase access to diagnosis and treatment.
“This administration has embarked upon many laudable initiatives and we are proud to associate with them. We encourage the women of the state to key into the initiatives of the government”, he added.
It would be recalled that the Global Strategy on Cervical Cancer Elimination was adopted by WHO and launched on the 17th of November, 2020, in Nigeria. It was also launched in Ondo State by the Wife of the Governor of Ondo State, Her Excellency, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu.
Those present were Permanent Secretary, Ondo State, Primary Health Care Board, Dr Francis Akanbiemu, Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Health, Pharmacist (Mrs) Foluke Aladenola, officials of Ministry of Health, PS, Women Affair and Social Development, Mrs Foluke Tunde Daramola, State Directors and Executives, members of FOWOSO, BRECAN and BAAF, school students from the Idanre Local Government.