Wives of former and serving governors in Nigeria, under the aegis of First Lady Against Cancer (FLAC), on Tuesday donated N10 million to support the treatment of cancer patients at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
FLAC says it is combating the spread of cancer among women and girls.
The FLAC team was hosted by Mrs. Tamunominini Makinde, wife of Oyo State Governor, in Agodi, Ibadan.
Led by its chairman and former First Lady of Kebbi State, Dr. Zainab Bagudu, those in in attendance were Florence Ajimobi (Oyo State former first lady), Olufunsho Amosun (ex-Ogun first lady), representative of wife of former Ekiti State governor, Bisi Fayemi, and representative of wife of former Kwara State Governor, among others.
The first ladies said they were in Oyo State to assess the plight of cancer patients and donate to them to relieve them of their financial burden.
Mrs. Makinde commended FLAC for considering Oyo State for its support, assuring them that whatever donations they made would be used effectively.
She said cancer has become a deadly disease, saying all hands must be on deck to get rid of the diseases. And people, particularly women should get vaccinated against cancer, go for routine cancer check and not wait till it gets to stage two or three.
“As we all know that October is Cancer Awareness Month, let’s pay attention to our health, let’s be vaccinated and do the needful to get rid of cancer,” appealed Mrs Makinde.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to management of UCH, FLAC chairman, Dr. Shinkafi said the purpose of the coalition was to increase awareness and advocacy on cancer and render necessary assistance to its patients.
She said the choice of cancer patients at UCH was deliberate considering the status of the hospital in delivering adequate healthcare to Nigerians.
Responding, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UCH, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo commended the gesture of FLAC, saying government alone can not provide all the needs of the hospital.
He said efforts of FLAC is not only encouraging, but also commendable considering the choice of UCH for the collaboration.
“I sincerely appreciate the commitment of FLAC towards supporting our cancer patients in the Hospital as well as your advocacy for improved access to cancer care services, this effort will remain indelible in the minds of those who will benefit from your kind gestures. It will also be a great relief to the hospital”, he said.
Otegbayo said the donation will reduce burden on the internally Generated Revenue of the hospital that is being overstretched already and will also reduce the cancer burden in Nigeria.
“Otegbayo said, “We want to appreciate the support of the Federal Government in making our Systems grow, and we appeal to you, the First ladies, former and present, to use your good offices to solicit for assistance for the Hospital. You can endow wards and projects and such will be named after you and it becomes a legacy you will be proud of.”
Mrs Florence Ajimobi, wife of late former Oyo Governor Abiola Ajimobi, whose foundation, Access to Basic Care (ABC) Foundation, a member of the partner NGO facilitating the resources to the state appealed to parents not to listen to negative insinuations about the HPV vaccine for young girls.
She said the vaccine will help reduce the rate of spread of cervical cancer among girls and women.
“We want to strike out cancer and the only way we can strike it out is by going around, telling people about early detection. Once they can detect early, we are hopeful and that is why we are here today.
“And I use this opportunity to tell parents that they should allow their children take the HPV vaccine, it’s not going to harm them. I have been hearing some wrong insinuations that the vaccine will not make girls get pregnant when they want, that’s not true.
“Please, let them take the HPV vaccine, the government is giving it free to everybody. So please go to the different health centres and have the vaccine.”