Ugo Nosiri, Owerri
Participants at an enlightenment campaign to celebrate survivors of cancer disease in Imo State have appealed to government at all levels to provide more diagnostic centers across the twenty-seven local government council areas of the state.
They also prayed for accessible treatment and political will to support those diagnosed early of the disease to save more lives in the society.
In a chat with our correspondent, a member of the cancer foundation, Dr, Okechukwu Duru, explained that the enlightenment commemorates this year’s International Cancer Awareness Day which aims to promote knowledge on cancer as a public health challenge.
Dr. Duru hinted that the enlightenment afforded members of the public the knowledge to always visit hospitals for early medical check-ups which will enhance result oriented treatment for diagnosed patients.
He further enjoined members of the public to visit any federal medical centers within their reach for screening and onward treatment.
“What we are doing here is to tell people to come early for screening, so that we can pick these illnesses. When you pick it early, there are treatments that are available in this state.”
“The one we don’t have in the state, we can refer you to places where you can get it in Nigeria.”
“We are also celebrating people who have undergone this treatment and have lived for ten years to fifteen years and they are still alive.”
The medical expert, however, appealed to the government to strengthen actions towards improving access to quality care screening, early dictation and treatment to close the care gap on those living with the disease.
On her part, the Area Representative for the Nigeria Army Officers Wives Association thirty-four Artillery Brigade Obinze Imo State, Mrs. Perpetual Dilola, who expressed delight on the enlightenment campaign noted that most women who attended the campaign had been equipped with the knowledge that early screening of cancer would assist in rapid treatment of the disease.
Mrs. Dilola appealed to the government as well as stakeholders in the health sector to enhance awareness campaigns on cancer related diseases for some members of the public, especially women to be informed on the dangers associated with negligence to early treatment of cancer.
“We have lost a lot of lives because of breast cancer.They say knowledge is power, When you learn and something happens to you, you can manage yourself even if you don’t have access to any hospital.
“I will imbibe the government to help create more awareness for the women to educate them on this cancer program which would go a long way to assist in the society.”
The Area Representative for the Nigeria Army Officers Wives Association however listed socioeconomic as an inhibiting factor to early diagnosis and treatment of the disease among most women.
The cancer awareness campaign was put in place by a non-governmental organisation, to celebrate survivors of the disease with high points of the event comprising golf playing match, dinner with the patients and wives of military officers, and cutting of cake at the Arsenal golf pitch Obinze.