•Dame Abimbola Fashola
Wife of Lagos State Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola, has narrated how she escaped the dreaded breast cancer.
Speaking at a ceremony to flag off the first round of the
Integrated Statewide Wellness Health Week, at Rauf Aregbesola Hospital in Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Area, Alimosho, Lagos, western Nigeria, Mrs. Fashola said consistent screening and early detection saved her from the killer disease.
In her words: “Early detection made me survive breast cancer. I was able to survive it through early detection and screening. This year alone, I know about six people that have died of breast cancer and it did not warn them.
“All of them died in the spate of one month. Only God knows what would have happened if I had not detected mine on time,” she said.
The highlights of the programme was free health screening for diabetes, hypertension, prostate, cervix and breast cancers for residents of Alimosho.
.Mrs. Fashola said the importance of the free health programme in all the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas cannot be overemphasised, given the fact that the diseases which she referred to as silent killers can be treated or managed successfully, if detected early.
“For years, we have witnessed on a regular basis and separate times awareness and screening programmes specifically for hypertension, diabetes, breast, cervical and prostate cancers.
“This new initiative tagged ‘Statewide Wellness Health Week,’ is a welcome idea that will integrate into one all screening and awareness of the five diseases for both men and women at the same time,” she stated.
The Lagos First Lady called on both men and women to take advantage of the unique opportunity the week-long integrated health screening offered. She urged residents to cultivate the habit of visiting primary health centres for their health needs.
“Please be aware that these diseases do not present any noticeable symptoms until at the late stages, then it will be too expensive to treat and manage and could lead to loss of life and bread winners,” she added.
In his remark at the occasion, the chairman of the council, Mr. Abiodun Mafe, said the rate at which Nigerians die of non-communicable diseases calls for serious concern. He called on residents to seize the opportunity of the free health screening to do a thorough medical check-up to know their health status.
“The event is not fun-fair but a programme aimed at bringing awareness to our people between the age of 18 years and above about the killer diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cervical and breast cancers.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics shows that 22 percent of the Nigerian population are affected by high blood pressure. It is called silent killer because it does not show sign or symptoms till it might be too late,” he said
The LCDA boss said that the proliferation of fake blood pressure measuring devices in the Nigerian market and brand of noodles people consume had put Nigerians at risk of terminal diseases.
He urged residents of all the 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs to come out en-mass for the free health screening that will last till Friday, 29 November, 2013.
The Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope Adefulire, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Risikat Akiode, stated that it was in realization of the need to prevent the killer diseases that the state government initiated the wellness health week aimed essentially for the screening of hypertension and diabetes as well as prostate, cervix and breast cancers across the state.
She explained that hypertension, diabetes and cancers are some of the non communicable diseases that have become prevalent and responsible for over 60 percent of deaths in the world, adding that if this trend continues unchecked, the diseases are expected to account for 73 percent of deaths and 60 percent of the disease burden in the year 2020.
“It is against this background that our administration has come up with this initiative, which also aims to increase the tempo of sensitization and awareness to maximally help prevent, reduce these diseases and improve the health status of Lagosians”, Orelope-Adefulire said.