As the World Commemorates Year 2022 World Cancer Day, the Lagos State Government has made known its plans to screen 100,000 women for breast and cervical cancer annually free of charge.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, disclosed this at Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area Secretariat, the venue of a community outreach campaign programme held to commemorate the World Cancer Day in Lagos.
Ogboye stated that free screenings for breast and cervical cancer have since commenced in 62 State health facilities, including designated General Hospitals offering gynaecology and obstetrics care services and flagship primary health care centres across the State.
He noted that this year’s World Cancer Day with the theme: “Close The Care Gap”, has provided yet another opportunity to improve awareness on cancer and to encourage its prevention through early screening and detection, diagnosis and prompt treatment of the various types of cancers.
He said: “Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Globally, nearly one in six deaths are due to cancer and 70 per cent of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries such as Nigeria”.Dr. Ogboye, while reiterating the need for periodic screening and lifestyle modification as preventive measures against non-communicable disease, stated that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that as many as 40 per cent of deaths from cancer are preventable.
He noted that raising awareness for cancer prevention, screening and early management has become a very important goal for all stakeholders and citizens, saying “This year’s World Cancer Day commemoration event has provided the opportunity to conduct advocacy to the people of Ikosi-Isheri as well as the entire citizenry and increase awareness on the importance of early screening, prompt diagnosis and treatment of cancers”.
The Permanent Secretary noted that no fewer than 200 women of childbearing age were screened for breast and cervical cancer during the outreach programme at Ikosi-Isheri, adding the State Government will provide free treatment for cervical precancerous lesions for women who require it.
“I want to encourage us all to adopt a healthy and safe lifestyle. Let us ensure we go for regular screening as and when due and seek medical help early as prevention is always better, cheaper, preferable and less stressful than curative measures”, he stated.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director, Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry Health, Dr. Rotimi Agbolagorite, noted that Lagos State Government commenced the State Cancer Control Programme in the year 2005 in recognition of the increasing trend of the global epidemic of cancers.
He explained that the Lagos State Cervical Control entails awareness creation, sensitisation, health education and promotion as well as free screening for breast, cervical and prostate cancer for citizens.
Agbolagorite stated that the State Government with the support of a non-governmental organisation, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) has built the capacity of over 300 healthcare workers across the State’s primary and secondary health facilities, and LASUTH to provide secondary prevention services for cervical cancer to Lagosians across all the LGAs in the State.
“In addition, the organisation has provided requisite equipment, materials and consumables to be utilised for these screenings”, he added.
Speaking in the same vein, the Cervical Control Programme Coordinator for CHAI, Dr. Maltida Kerry, stated that CHAI, through UNITAID grant, is supporting the Lagos State Ministry of Health to screen approximately 200,000 women for cervical cancer and provide precancerous treatment for those in need in Lagos over a two-year period.
“Since the launch of the cervical cancer programme in 2019, CHAI through the support of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Health Service Commission and the State Primary Health Care Board has been able to create cervical cancer service demand generation and increase access to cervical cancer services”, she noted.