ArOY Health Campaign: Data collection for the pilot research completed in Anambra State of Nigeria, as plans to roll out the program across the Country gather momentum (Sept 17, 2020)

ArOY Health Campaign: Data collection for the pilot research completed in Anambra State of Nigeria, as plans to roll out the program across the Country gather momentum (Sept 17, 2020)

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ArOY Health Campaign: Data collection for the pilot research completed in Anambra State of Nigeria, as plans to roll out the program across the Country gather momentum (Sept 17, 2020)

On Thursday, the 17th day of September, 2020, a new milestone was reached by the OCI Foundation’s Arm Our Youths (ArOY) Health Campaign in Anambra State of Nigeria, as the data collection for the evaluation research into the program, was concluded. The research is a mixed methods, Cluster Randomized Control Trial (Cluster-RCT) that involved a team of researchers from Australia and Nigeria, and included schools from both Anambra State and the neighbouring Enugu State (both are in South-east Nigeria).

It should be recalled that, after a highly successful and colourful flag-off ceremony on September 10th 2019, the formal teachings and evaluation research for the OCI Foundation’s Arm Our Youths (ArOY) Campaign in Anambra State of Nigeria was commenced across all the 261 senior secondary schools in the State. Having completed the quantitative data collection over the past 12 months, the current “Focus Group” interviews held in Awka, the capital city of Anambra State, involved selected teachers and students that were part of the ArOY program implementation in the State, and helps collect data for the qualitative aspect of the study. This research is in line with the established custom of the OCI Foundation, which is that of its major activities on health, education and social welfare are always evaluated through empirical research. This current evaluation applies to the ArOY Health Campaign.

The interviews were anchored by Prof Williams Obiozor (of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University UNIZIK, Awka, Nigeria) and Dr Emmanuel Azuike (of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University COOU, Awka, Nigeria). Both are part of a 5-man research team overseeing the pilot evaluation of the ArOY Health Campaign. Other members of that team include Assoc. Prof. Chris Ifediora (Founder of the OCI Foundation and lead researcher) and Prof Lennert Veerman, both of which are of the Griffith University School of Medicine, Australia, as well as well as Dr Uche Ekwochi of the Enugu State University of Technology (ESUTH), Nigeria. This means that the 5-member research team are drawn from 4 different universities across 2 different continents, and includes all known university ranks: Professors (2), Associate Professor (1), Senior Lecturer (1) and Lecturer (1).The technical and ethical support for the research is provided from the Griffith University School of Medicine, Australia, and 2 of the researchers are from there

Assisting with the interviews were Mrs Imelda Emeka (the OCI Foundation’s Domestic Liaison Officer), as well as Mrs Sabina Ndigwe and Mrs Eucharia Illikah, who are both of the School Service Commission in Anambra State of Nigeria, and have served as the desk officers for the ArOY Campaign in State since it was commenced there in September 2019.

The results of the research will be vital ahead of the national roll-out of the ArOY Campaign across all senior secondary schools in Nigeria, as lessons from it will be used to ensure that the highest quality of Campaign is introduced across the country. This will also assist with the global roll-out of the Campaign, as many developing (and some developed) countries keenly await the outcomes, in their hope to adopt the principles of the ArOY Campaign. The findings of the mixed methods study are expected to be published in top global journals within the next six months.

For the records, the ArOY Campaign is a novel, Harvard-endorsedWHO-supported, and evidence-based health promotion initiative of the OCI Foundation, which is being introduced across all senior secondary schools in Nigeria as a way of tackling breast and cervical cancers. In September 2019, it was rolled out across all the 261 senior secondary schools in Anambra State of Nigeria, and a similar event, scheduled for Benue State in May 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  All of Nigeria’s 36 states (and the FCT) are expected to benefit from the ArOY campaign on or before the end of 2025, and the ongoing consultations are part of this whole process.

The ArOY Health Campaign has the support of the, NextGenU.org (the World’s first online University), the United States Centers for Disease Control (U.S. CDC) and the University of British Columbia, Canada (ranked 45th in the world, according to the 2021 QS World University Ranking). Experts from these institutions, along with others from the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) and the Griffith University (Australia), will work with the OCI Foundation and the Nigerian Government on the roll-out, implementation and monitoring of the ArOY project. In addition, the prestigious Harvard Medical School, USA, of which Dr Chris Ifediora (the Founder of the OCI Foundation) is an Alumnus of, had earlier endorsed the Campaign, and made significant contributions to the Campaign’s design ahead of its roll out in Anambra State last year.

A number of other reputable Nigerian institutions partnering the OCI Foundation on this initiative include the Innoson Group, the NYSC (National Office), the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (Nigeria), Nollywood Nigeria, the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS)Silk Road Restaurant (Abuja), and the Post Primary Schools Service Commission, PPSSC (Anambra state), among others.

1 Comment
  • George Mutwiri
    Posted at 12:05h, 21 September Reply

    This is excellent work – keep it up! I know about this work through my collaboration with my brother, Prof. Chris Ifediora. I hope this health promotion initiative will be soon replicated in other countries in Africa and beyond – they need it urgently.

    George Mutwiri, DVM, PhD
    Professor and MPH Director
    School of Public Health
    University of Saskatchewan, Canada

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