From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has enjoined all and sundry to cultivate and practice the habit of regular checkups and examination in the hospital to ensure early detection of some diseases in the body that can cut short human lives.
The advice was given in a statement jointly signed by the association’s National President, Mrs. Ladi Bala, and National Secretary, Helen Udofa, and made available to journalists in Ibadan on Thursday.
According to the statement, “February 4, every year, is observed as World Cancer Day. It is an international event to raise awareness of cancer and encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.
“The 2021 global theme: ‘I Am And I Will,’ acknowledges the fact that our commitment to act will lead to powerful progress in reducing the global impact of cancer and create a cancer-free world. It is a call for everyone, irrespective of who you are, because your actions – big and small, will make lasting, positive change.
“According to the United Nations, such actions have an impact on everyone around us, within
our neighbourhoods, communities and cities. And that more than ever, our actions are being
felt across borders and oceans. This year is a reminder of the enduring power of cooperation and collective action. When we choose to come together, we can achieve what we all wish for: a healthier, brighter world without cancer. Together, all of our actions matter.
“Although the Federal Government, last year, allayed fears of a rise in Nigeria’s cancer burden; saying it has upgraded seven tertiary health institutions to manage invasive cancer and cancer related illnesses in the country, NAWOJ observes that some factors still militate against government efforts at effectively combating cancer scourge in Nigeria.
“These include poor awareness, poor health seeking behaviour, low level of non-governmental investments, low number of skilled health care personnel, funding gaps. Other factors are the
myopic view that cancer is a disease of the rich amid the reality that the poor and downtrodden are suffering in silence as well as myths and misconceptions that lead to stigmatization and discrimination against people living with cancer. Unless government intervenes significantly, more Nigerians would continue to die of cancer.”
NAWOJ, however, called on the federal and state governments to partner national and
international stakeholders to record more laudable achievements in managing cancer cases in the country, as well as commit adequate resources to reduce cancer death and provide better quality of life for patients and survivors.
“Also, Nongovernmental organisations, civil societies and other stakeholders should intensify advocacies and organise more sensitisation programmes, especially in rural areas, to enlighten the public on preventive measures to reduce the prevalence of the killer disease.
“There is no doubt that there is cure when detected early, therefore, we encourage regular checkups and examinations as most cancers can be removed with either drugs, radiotherapy or surgeries, when detected early.
“NAWOJ believes everyone has the capacity to address the cancer burden and that, together,
we can work to reduce cancer risk factors and overcome barriers to early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care in Nigeria.”