Over the weekend, members of the National Association Seadogs, NAS, Alimosho and North London chapters in partnership with the Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board (PHCB) and Olukemi Specilaist Clinic and Urologist Centre, Akure, Ondo State, carried out an awareness campaign and PSA screening exercise at the ultra modern Bola Tinubu Primary Health Centre, Akowonjo, Egbeda,Lagos State.
The objectives of the free prostate cancer awareness drive, as part of this year’s commemoration of the International World Health Day, was to create awareness about Prostate Cancer among men residing within the Egbeda and Igando axis of Alimosho LGA of Lagos State, and to also screen male residents for prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most common and leading cause of death among Nigerian men above 50 years.
As men grow older this organ tends to increase or enlarge in size which in some cases can be cancerous.
The two most common tests used to detect Prostate Cancer are Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA).
The Prostate Cancer Awareness Programme involved screening carried out using measurement of Prostate Specific Antigens (PSA), Information dissemination, while education and communication materials were produced and distributed and lectures given in both Yoruba and English for the benefit of attendees.
Dr Olurotimi Ogundiniyi, consultant urologist and head, Urology Unit, University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital in Ondo, Ondo State, was on ground to lecture participants and also screen them.
He was delighted at the eagerness shown by many of the male participants to get enlightened about their prostate status.
The collaboration of PHCB with the association for the event was facilitated by Dr Eniola Erinosho, Director of Medical Services and Disease Control, and Dr Tosin Onasanya, Assistant Director of Medical Services and Disease Control of same agency while Dr Odufunwa, the Medical Director of Bola Tinubu Primary Health Centre and his staff were on ground to provide support to the Association.
The President of the Alimosho Chapter, also known as Hawkins Deck, Hassan Aidorolo, elaborated on the impact of the Association’s Health and Physical wellness activities on the group’s immediate community which it has constantly carried out through the association’s medical intervention vehicle known as NAS Medical Mission, which provides free medical services through the group’s qualified medical Doctors, pharmacists and other allied medical personnel, to indigent Nigerians who cannot afford adequate healthcare.
“The turnout of the elderly in today’s activity despite the covid challenge, shows how important these men cared for their health.
Two hours before the event kicked off, about seven of these old men were already seated for the screening.” He said. On his part, Temitope Awofeso, the head of the organisation’s North London chapter known as Zero Meridian Deck, stated that their involvement in the Programme all their way from United Kingdom, was a show of their humanitarian concern for those they left at home in Nigeria.
One of the elderly men, who came in early for the event, Alhaji Yusuf, said he was made aware of the program by one of his sons and was very thankful to the association for the free service.
“I have lived here for over twenty years this is the first time we are getting this type of event and I thank the organisers”. He enthused.
On his part another participant, Chukwu Ifeanyi Martins of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Security watch, said
“it’s good to always know one’s health status and that is why I’m thanking the organisers of this event for the effort. God will continue to bless them.”
The campaign reached out to hundreds of men within the locality who were all screened. They individually showed appreciation to the organizers as they could not have been able to test themselves owing to the high cost of such tests, describing the opportunity presented to them by NAS as God send.
Most were hearing of prostate cancer for the first time and were happy they attended the event.
The programmes Officer, Onyekachi Ekwem and the Medical officer, Mr Emeka Onwuasoanya, of the chapter, particularly reached out thankfully to the permanent secretary of Lagos State PHCB, Dr Ibrahim Mustapha, for the full collaboration with Lagos State government approval and the logistic backing he extended to the association toward executing the Programme.
They also counseled participants on how their lifestyle could also help in reducing the occurrence of prostate cancer.
Hawkins Deck first held this exercise in 2018 at 52 Akowonjo Road, Egbeda, Lagos, where male participants above 40 years were screened for Prostate Cancer and those who required further investigation were directed to designated specialist facilities for further attention.