By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
Reflecting on the hazards of cancer, Inner Wheel Club, District 912, has recommended preventive measures as ways of tackling the increasing menace of cancer in Nigeria.
The club held a one-day medical outreach recently, where services such as screening for eye infections, breast/cervical cancer for women, prostate cancer for men, sugar level, hepatitis B, HIV, malaria, family planning and provision of free reading glasses were on offer.
The screening, which held at the Ajibulu Primary Health Centre, Mafoluku-Oshodi, Lagos, served as an opportunity for members of the club to render care and other charity work by reaching out to the less privileged, the elderly, women and young girls with medical care, counselling and health talks that would help them.
Members offered free cancer screening for women, medical checkups for high blood pressure, eye tests, malaria test and others. Residents of the community received dedicated care and benefitted from health advice delivered by experts, especially the mental alertness presentation by consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Gbonjubola Babalola.
The national treasurer and past president of the club, Zainab Ikheloa, said, decades ago, cancer was among rare diseases in Nigeria.
“Today, the story has changed. The situation is so bad that almost every day there are new cases in various hospitals across the country. It is almost becoming like malaria.”
Ikheloa appealed to the public to take advantage of the free cancer screening exercise, stressing that preventive measure have led to early detection, saving many lives.
She pointed out the club had a special interest in the general wellbeing of women, stressing that the club had chosen to support government, since it knew the government wouldn’t be able do it alone.
She also stated that many people died of the disease because they were ignorant of the advantages of screening, which affords knowledge of how to prevent the spread of the disease and signs to look out for.
The club equally has provisions for further medical assistance for those that would be diagnosed, even as she advised women to take advantage of the free screening.
Ikheloa gave tips on ways of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to control cancer. She said people should desist from having multiple sex partners, eat healthy, eat low-fat food, fresh vegetables, avoid refined carbohydrates, control their weight, ask for advice always, consult nutritionists and exclusively indulge in breastfeeding for at least six months.
The club’s chairman, Mrs. Adefunke Shinaba, said the day was set aside to reach out and impact lives in different ways through the programme.
“Health, they say, is wealth. Mindful of this, we have come here with the support of the local government chairman, Kehinde Almaroof, who opened the doors of this facility for us and provided health officials to handle the screening to make a great impact on all that are gathered here today,” she said.
While noting the theme of the screening, “Mental Health Alertness,” she added that government ought to key into the programme as well as support public-spirited organisations like Inner Wheel, because it would not be able to do it alone. She appealed to women in the community to take advantage of the free screening to get the necessary information that would help check the menace.
Babalola who presented a paper on mental alertness, said, “We need ambitious commitments to tackle the way we treat psychological illness amid a potential spike in suicides and drug abuse.”
Spearheading the project, Babalola added that decades of neglect and underinvestment in addressing people’s mental health has increased the rate, as depression, suicide and other negative mental health issues affect a large percentage of Nigerians.
She said: “As a country, we are short of mental health professionals. One in four Nigerians suffers from some sort of mental illness. The causes of mental disorder are often unclear but common causes include drug abuse, depression, dementia, schizophrenia, as well as stigma and discrimination.
“Multiple social, psychological and biological factors determine the level of mental health of a person at any point of time. For example, violence and persistent socio-economic pressures are recognized risks to mental health.”
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