Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Tactical Air Command of the Nigerian Air Force Makurdi on Wednesday commenced three days awareness campaign and free cancer screening programme for prostrate, breast and cervical cancer for residents of Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
Delivering his welcome address during the occasion which took place at the Officers’ Mess, NAF Base Makurdi, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Tactical Air Command, AVM Charles Ohwo stated that the three-day cancer awareness/screening programme event was in line with the directive of Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar to the Command.
It could be recalled that the NAF apart from the Kinetic efforts to address current security challenges of Insurgency, Banditry and other emerging security threats around the country especially in the North East and North West, have been involved in non-kinetic actions such as Medical Outreach programmes.
Ohwo who noted that Cancer had become a scourge especially in developing countries, said it was for that reason that the NAF is providing the opportunity for the general public to undergo screening as according to him, early detection is a parachute to the cure.
Air Vice Marshal Ohwo particularly stated that “in addition to screening of a targeted audience of 2000 persons from 30th October to 1st November 2019, the screening exercise will be available to the general public even after the three-day programme.”
He therefore urged inhabitants of Makurdi to take advantage of NAF Cancer Screening Centre at NAF Base Makurdi”.
Commissioner for Health and Human Services in Benue State, Dr. Emmanuel Eru in his address before flagging off the three-day programme, posited that Cancer is a pandemic disease that has economic and social consequences in the society and the World at large.
Eru who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Apir-Ityu Ayaka particularly stated that Cancer is a scourge with unknown cause and poor prognosis adding however that, “early detection through screening helps to reduce the impact of the disease”.
He commended the Nigerian Air Force for being in the fore front of the fight against cancer and especially expressed appreciation to the Chief of the Air Staff for demonstrating tremendous leadership and unflinching support towards improved quality of life for NAF personnel, their families and the Benue host community.
Delivering a lecture titled, “Nigerian Air Force Awareness on Cancer” the Guest Lecturer, Dr Godian Chibueze Ezema who is also a Consultant Physician with the 161 NAF Hospital Makurdi informed the gathering that Cancer is a global menace with a greater impact in low income countries including Nigeria.
He further stressed that about one-third of all cancer cases are preventable by life style modification which include weight reduction, healthy diet, avoidance of tobacco and alcohol as well as improved physical activities. In his words, Dr Ezema stated that “when identified early through screening, most common cancer cases are curable.”
Notable senior officers of the Tactical Air Command who were present during the occasion include the Chief of Staff, Tactical Air Command, Air Commodore Shehu Usman Bakari and Air Commodore Victor Okey Ezeanyagu the Commander 161 NAF Hospital Makurdi who organized and coordinated the three-days awareness campaign and free cancer screening programme.
Highlight of the event was a motorcade awareness campaign to the popular Wurukum market area by officers and men of the Nigerian Air Force.