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Samson Omotayo
April 24, 2022

The Ondo State Government has said its present concerted efforts geared towards expanding access to the treatment of cervical cancer among women in the state were a response to the current alarming rate of the global prevalence of the disease.

The Wife of the Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu -Akeredolu made the assertion in her keynote address at the Launching of a Free Secondary Prevention Programme for Cervical Cancer initiated by the Ondo State Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Office of the First Lady and partners held at the Blissworld Hotel, Ijapo Estate, Akure today.

Mrs. Akeredolu noted that in the year 2018, an estimated five hundred and seventy thousand women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and about three hundred and eleven thousand women died from the disease.

While affirming that like COVID-19, the Ondo State Government has adequate tools to prevent, detect and treat cervical cancer, the First Lady identified inequitable access to these tools as the cause of new cases of the disease.

According to her, in low and middle-income countries like Nigeria, the incidence of cervical cancer is nearly twice as high while the death rate is three times as high, as in high-income countries.

"I sincerely appreciate my husband, the Governor of the Sunshine State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN for championing the fight against cancer alongside me.

"I also applaud the laudable contributions of our partners, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN).

"Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, but it is almost completely preventable and, if diagnosed early enough, is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.

"This disease claims the lives of three hundred thousand women each year, which translates to one woman every two minutes ", Mrs. Akeredolu stressed.

Also speaking at the event, Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Banji Ajaka
attributed the launch of the program to the selfless sacrifice and leadership spirit of Governor Akeredolu and his wife.

While noting that Ondo State has been championing the fight against cancer, Ajaka averred that the state is one of the leading states in Nigeria making great strides in the fight against the killer disease.

The Commissioner stated that cervical cancer is preventable and curable if detected early and treated adequately.

Ajaka noted that the facility baseline study on the secondary prevention of cervical cancer was conducted in February 2022 while ten facilities were recommended to pilot the program stressing that the state is now at the stage of flag-off and training of health workers for the program's implementation.

He disclosed that five thousand women residents in the state will benefit from the free cervical cancer screening across the three Senatorial Districts of the state adding that the programme will further strengthen the state strategy in eliminating cervical cancer among women in Ondo State.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Prof. Dayo Faduyile also emphasized that cervical cancer is both preventable and treatable if diagnosed early enough.

Faduyile appreciated Governor Akeredolu, the First Lady, all health partners, and stakeholders for their concerted efforts at fighting the disease in Ondo State.

In her speech, the Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Health, Pharmacist (Mrs.) Foluke Aladenola appreciated Governor Akeredolu and the First Lady for prioritizing health in the state adding that the governor and his wife are passionate about the overall health of the people of Ondo State.

Aladenola charged participants at the training to ensure that they step down the new knowledge acquired at their respective facilities.

The Permanent Secretary reiterated the commitment of the Ministry of Health and other Departments and Agencies in the state's health sector to the institutionalization and sustainability of the programme.

The Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ODPHCDA), Dr. Francis Akanbiemu equally implored participants at the training to pay rapt attention to the contents in order to improve their efficiency and productivity on the programme.