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Awareness Campaign Storm Campus

By Afis Olawale Odeyemi, Report From The Unilorin
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In an effort geared towards a disease free society, Imam-Lawal Ummulkhaeri, Vice President, Students’ Union; University of Ilorin has led the fight against Breast and Cervical Cancer disease on the campus of her institution. Report Olawale Odeyemi (400-Level History) Unilorin.

The centre stage is set to host the forthcoming Breast and Cervical Cancer awareness seminar on the campus of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Kwara State, Nigeria. However, the campaign train has taken off with a rally and awareness show from the main campus of university and has since extended to the Oke-Oyi campus of her College of Health Sciences.

This latest campaign against cancer virus is initiated by Imam-Lawal Ummulkhaeri, Vice-President (main campus) of the students’ union government, University of Ilorin. Imam-Lawal is currently a 400-level History and International Studies student of the university. This Breast and Cervical Cancer awareness campaign is particularly targeted at women as the major victims of the killer disease. The exercise is to further sensitize the general public on the risks associated with this virus; hence, a press briefing to commemorate the exercise has been staged and was delivered by the project initiator, Imam-Lawal Ummulkhaeri.

In this address, Imam-Lawal attributed the major and growing challenges facing the women folk on health related matter to lack of good health education, absence of awareness and proper sensitization exercise. She noted that: “Having discovered the prevailing incidence and mortality rate of these scourge and also the unimaginable level of ignorance and nonchalance exhibited by students about cancers, one can conclude there is need for immediate intervention and sensitization by staging an encompassing campaign of this nature.”

However, research reveals that Breast Cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in females worldwide, which accounted for about 23% of the total new cancer and 14% of the total cancer death. Cervical cancer on the other hand, is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in females worldwide; this accounted for 9% of the total new cancer cases and 8% of the total cancer deaths among females.

Ummu however reiterated the uniqueness of her campaign program, saying: “I have witnessed quite a number of campaigns on cancer in women, but the uniqueness of this one is the ‘Free Screening Exercise’ that will be given to participants. Cancer being a public health problem world-wide has affected and still affects all categories of redone. It is a common cause of death in developed countries. The burden of cancer in Nigeria is unknown; mainly because of lack of statistics and under-reporting of inadequate diagnostic facilities, limited access to health care and inadequate technical manpower. This is not peculiar to Nigeria alone but most parts of Africa.”

The vice-president noted also that, since the sole cause of the ever-increasing incidence of the disease is poor awareness, creating an enabling environment for female youths and adult as to the necessary information required to prevent Cancer will help save life and future of children, adding that: “The Students’ Union Leadership of the institution in partnership with LEAH foundation will be launching the LEAH CANCER CLUB." The club, it was gathered is posed at reiterating the values and mission of the foundation on campus and will be inaugurated at the Breast and Cervical Cancer seminar in few days time.

The address featured also, questions and answers session which saw the two Students' Union Vice-Presidents feeding answers to.

In her own speech, the Vice President (College of Health Sciences) of the Students’ Union, University of Ilorin, Comrade Olubunmi Afuye has encouraged students, particularly female students to go for regular medical checkup in other to ascertain their health status and to prevent any traces of a life threatening diseases.

“The decision to partner with LEAH foundation to bring this Breast and Cervical Cancer awareness campaign to schools in Nigeria was formed out of the realization that, chances of Cancer infection in women is high for those who are exposed to early regular sexual intercourse or having multiple sexual partners.”

Meanwhile, the press briefing proceeded with the rally and awareness show within the Ilorin community and women where educated on the risk associated with the dreaded cancer and that early detection is better than cure.

The free Breast and Cervical Cancer screening has since commenced at the Unilorin Health Center department both at the university permanent site and her college of health sciences.

Olawale Odeyemi, report from Unilorin.