OCI Foundation, an Australian-based Charity Organisation, says it is collaborating with Harvard University to introduce students of senior secondary schools to a curriculum on breast and cervical cancer.
The President of the Foundation, Dr Chris Ifediora made this known at its second health symposium and empowerment campaign against breast and cervical cancers at Umueri in Anambra.
Ifediora said the move became imperative following the increasing rate of breast and cervical cancers among women in the country.
He described as “worrisome”, the report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that more than 8,000 Nigerian women out of about 14,000 diagnosed with cervical cancer would die annually.
“Something urgent has to be done to stem the tide. We can’t continue to accept this unfortunate trend, or just pray over it or worse still, ignore it, and hope that it goes away. Alternatively, we can stand and fight.
“With the support of Harvard Medical School, USA, and some international bodies, the Foundation plans to introduce breast and cervical cancer awareness campaigns in the academic curricula of senior secondary schools in the country.
“We intend to start with schools in the state and as well engage religious and traditional institutions to find interventions that are not only sustainable but socially and culturally acceptable.
“Sadly, while young women in most developed parts of the world receive free and universal screenings to prevent and detect cancer early, our women in Nigeria have no such preventive system in place,” Ifediora said.
In her remarks, wife of the state governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano commended the commitment of the Foundation towards enhancing the education and health of children, especially girls in the state.
According to her, the vision and mission of OCI Foundation is in line with the programmes mapped out by the state government for the development of our young citizens.
Mrs Obiano said her pet project, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), a Non-Governmental Organisation was set up to empower and train vulnerable youths, women and widows for self reliance.
The governor’s wife was represented by Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, the Executive Secretary, Anambra Primary Health Care Development Agency (ASPHCDA).
A representative of WHO, Ms Chinyere Ebede disclosed that the organisation in collaboration with the Federal Government would soon introduce Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination into routine vaccines.
“The HPV will soon be introduced into routine vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer,” she said, while commending the Foundation for its lofty contribution to humanity.
“We are concerned about the health of children, especially young women and women of child bearing age,” Ebede, who represented the South East Coordinator of WHO, Dr William Komakech, added.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the symposium attracted more than 500 senior secondary school students, their teachers, principals, stakeholders in the education sector and WHO.
NAN further reports that the OCI Foundation was established in 2016 with the primary aim of bridging the health and educational divides between the rich and the poor in rural communities.
The foundation has also provided more than 1,000 students scholarship under its education programmes.