20 Mar DIGITAL CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING IN NIGERIA: OCI FOUNDATION TAKES POSSESSION OF “GYNOCULAR”, AND BEGINS PERSONNEL TRAINING.
On Tuesday, March 9th, 2021, the OCI Foundation finally took possession of its newly-purchased sets of Gynocular Kits, which will enable it fulfill its promise on the GYNOCULAR PROJECT, which aims to introduce digital cervical cancer screening procedures across Nigeria. This was in line with the Foundation’s official release on February 23rd, 2021, advising Nigerians to expect this service.
The Foundation’s Head of Advocacy Services, Mr Sam Agwa, received the devices from a FedEx Courier representative at the Foundation’s Office in Abuja, Nigeria. Also on hand to receive the items was Mr Alex Addingi, the Vice President of Sinoki Investments and the Manager with the Silk Road Restaurant. Silk Road Restaurant, arguably the biggest Chinese restaurant in Africa, is an official partner to the OCI Foundation on the Arm Our Youths Health Campaign.
Thereafter, on Wednesday, the 17th Day of March, 2021, the OCI Foundation’s medical team in Abuja, led by Dr Fatima Inusa, officially took over the device, ahead of their scheduled training on its use by the Swedish manufacturers of the device. At the hand over event was Ms Felicia Dagu, the Foundation’s Admin officer.
As is widely known, the OCI Foundation intends to introduce a free cervical cancer screening service that will adopt a state-of-the-art digital and portable technology. This service will be offered largely free (or at tokens) to Nigerians, as the Foundation rolls out its novel anti-cancer health initiative tagged Arm Our Youths (ArOY) Health Campaign moves across all the 36 states of Nigeria (and the FCT).
When fully in place, this service will, arguably, offer the most advanced and most reliable cervical screening test to Nigerians (relative to the current procedures available in the country). And this will be done in a largely for free.
The Gynocular has cutting edge optics and LED technology, and can be used in any health setting in the world (both urban and rural). It will be very suitable for remote locations in Nigeria, and can be used by any staff trained to do so, not necessarily medical practitioners. In addition to offering free services to all the states of Nigeria during the ArOY Health Campaign roll outs in the respective states, the OCI Foundation intends to set up permanent screening centres in its Awka and Abuja locations, where the services will be rendered in an ongoing basis at token fees to Nigerian women, irrespective of their states of origin, tribe, or religious and political affiliations.
The ArOY program is already fully functional in Anambra State (since September 2019), and Benue and Niger, among other states, have embraced the program, with the aim to roll them out later this 2021. Both states, along with Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps, the NYSC (who are official partners of the OCI Foundation on the ArOY Campaign project), will be among the very first to benefit from the digital cervical cancer screenings of the OCI Foundation. The OCI Foundation is working with various state governors and first ladies across Nigeria in its resolve to cover the entire Country before the end of 2025, and a good number of them have been approached already, with high-level negotiations already going on.
It should be noted that the ArOY Campaign is a novel, Harvard-endorsed, WHO-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), Nigeria’s National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Federal Ministry of Health (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.
There are also plans to involve the Office of the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Nigeria’s Governor’s Forum (which includes the Governors of all the 36 States of Nigeria), and Nigeria’s ministries of Health, Education and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).