Knights of the Saint Mulumba (KSM) in partnership with Catholic Young Adult Association (CYAA) have sensitised the Nigerian populace on ways to prevent and cure cervical cancer, noting that on a daily basis, about 26 people die from this dreadful disease.
The World Grand Knight (WGK), KSM, of the Lekki sub-council, Mr. Johnny Ngonadi, explained the urgent need to educate and sensitise the public on how best to prevent the disease in order to reduce the mortality rate in Nigeria.
In a walk to sensitise the people around its environs, Ngonadi said the initiative was to walk against the spread of cervical cancer in the country, saying that Nigeria is the 10th in cervical cancer death worldwide where about 40,000 Nigerian women are at risk of getting infected by the disease.
In his words, â€œWe are doing this walk as a means of preserving life. We call it a pro life programme because we believe that when life is conceived, it must be respected. Life is created by God and he commanded that we respect life no matter the circumstances. Today we are on a walk against spread and prevention of cervical cancer. We have teamed up with the youths called the Catholic Youths Adults Association. We teamed up with young professionals because we felt that for us to propagate we need the youths.â€
He stressed the need for schools to make religious studies a compulsory subject to bring about a sense of morality amongst youths in order to guard against certain crimes and actions which could result to cervical cancer.
â€œWhen I was young, religion was a major part of our school education and it was compulsory and it helped because it helped us to get out of some certain crimes. This is why the Knights of St Mulumba and the Catholic Church brought up this initiative. We are planning to set up the youth wing of the Knight of St Mulumba so that we can attract other youths to this initiative and this why w embarked on this programme,â€ he said.
According to him, the walk was the last programme it had to sensitise the public, saying that there had been free health examination by some medical doctors to conduct screening mainly for women and some men coupled with a health talk on what cervical cancer is all about such as the causes, prevention and the cure.
â€œThe walk is essentially to meet the public by distributing fliers. Before the walk, I told the youths that now that they are aware about the prevention, causes and cure, they should try and spread the gospel to their peers and counterparts. As we are walking along this road, there are tendencies that their friends would see them and they would be asked what the walk was all about and this would go a long way to penetrate down the grass roots because the youths are agents of change. The youths can also use any language to spread the good news, so the poor, the illiterate and the rich are being touched, but furthermore, we the Knights have the pro life committee where after today, we will be going to secondary schools to sensitise them on ways to prevent cervical cancer and we are also meeting market women around lekki and environs to educate and sensitise them on ways to prevent this disease,â€ the WGK said.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairperson, Pro life, Lekki Sub Council, Dr. Gertrude Bassey, added that the walk was jointly conducted by in conjunction with the Catholic Church of Mother and Queen, Badore to create awareness on cervical cancer for the young girls and women, pointing out that cervical cancer is a leading cause for mortality in Nigeria.
â€œIt is sad because this disease is preventable and treatable if it is diagnosed on time, women will not be dying from this preventable disease,â€ she said.
She noted that cervical cancer has risk factors commonly caused by Human Papilomavirus (HPV), early sexual activities, multiple partners and the likes, urging young women to have vaccination from age 9 to 16, limit sexual activities and if possible keep to a single partner in life.
We are trying to create awareness on this deadly disease so that they can get screened on time. We have screening facilities to detect this HPV so that it can be treated on time because prevention is better than cure.
â€œWe are going to do some screening at our church and refer any suspicious case for further treatment. HPVs are a group of more than 100 related viruses. About 40 types are sexually transmitted through genital contact while 2 types with age groups of 16 and 18 are considered high risk in Nigeria,â€ she said.
The Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM, Dr. Charles Mbelede to commended the Lekki-sub council for this impactful cervical lecture, saying that it is a great awareness campaign to reach out to the populace and Nigeria in general.
â€œWith time we believe partnering with the government will help get this message to a wider audience. This walk is just the beginning and we must sensitise the public as a way of preventing this dreadful disease. Creating the awareness is letting people know why and how it happens and find a way to eliminate it,â€ he said.