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OIC African First Ladies Unite To Combat Cancer

First Ladies from Organization of Islamic Cooperation African member-states have agreed to join forces to accelerate cancer prevention.

First Ladies from Organization of Islamic Cooperation African member-states have agreed to join forces to accelerate cancer prevention and treatment, with a focus on promoting early detection and treatment. 

This united effort was brought to the fore Thursday at the Third Regional Seminar on Cancer Awareness, hosted by wife of the President, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, in Abuja.

The seminar, attended by First Ladies from African member-states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), aimed to share knowledge and mobilize resources to combat cancer, particularly breast and cervical cancer among women.

Presenting situation reports on cancer management in their various countries, First Ladies from OIC African member states, including Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Islamic Republic of Mauritania, emphasized the need to forge alliances and raise awareness on the deadly disease.

In a statement issued by her spokesperson, Busola Kukoyi,  the Nigerian First Lady emphasized the need to reverse the grim statistics of cancer prevalence in Nigeria, which has seen 127,763 new cases and 79,542 deaths in the past year alone. 

Addressing the seminar, Mrs Tinubu said while President Bola Tinubu has fully taken up the diagnostic and treatment component of cancer care, she will lead the advocacy to promote innovative approaches to cancer prevention and early detection.

She expressed her commitment to promoting innovative approaches to cancer prevention and early detection, with a focus on reducing late presentation and improving treatment outcomes.

According to her: “My major interest is to reduce the prevalence of late presentation in order to improve treatment outcomes. Reports from various cancer registries in the country which has been corroborated by Globocan Data reports showed that there were 127,763 new cancer cases and 79,542 deaths within the year and also, the prevalent cases of cancer over a period of five years in the country, stood at 269,109. 

“Globocan shows that cervical cancer is the second commonest cancer among women in Nigeria. Fortunately, it is preventable and curable when detected early. This has led to my stand in championing preventive measures and early detection approach to all preventable and curable cancers in Nigeria”.

Also speaking, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Tajudeen Abbas, emphasized the need to enact a National Cancer Act. 

He said with the First Ladies taking the lead in the advocacy, he is assured that the outcome would be more positive.

On her part, worried by the cumulative toll of Cancer on the continent, First Lady of Turkey, Emine Erdogan, urged Africans to promote good dietary system and leverage their rich medicinal resources.

After the Seminar which had the technical session on Wednesday, there was the Abuja Declaration which had resolutions including Improved funding, heightened advocacy, and improved collaboration between member states, which was read by Nigeria’s First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu and the other First Ladies appended their signature.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

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