05 Feb Video: Speech by the OCI Foundation’s President at the 2020 World Cancer Day, Abuja Nigeria (4/2/20)
OCI Foundation President's Speech
FULL TEXT OF THE ADDRESS BY THE OCI FOUNDATION’S PRESIDENT (DR CHRIS IFEDIORA), ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2020 WORLD CANCER DAY, ABUJA, NIGERIA (4/2/20)
Speech delivered by Mrs Felicia Dagu, a Member of the Advocacy Team of the OCI Foundation
We are pleased to be involved in the activities of this year’s World Cancer Day. We thank the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs for involving us in this event, and for finalizing our formal partnership with them. We are sure that the partnership will yield a lot for Nigerians, and we promise that today’s event will mark the beginning of great things to come from the OCI Foundation, to all Nigerians.
For the records, the fight against cancers by the OCI Foundation did not start today. We have been at the vanguard of anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer campaigns since 2017, and have made these the core of our health promotion activities. We are mindful of the menace faced by Nigerians from multiple cancers, and are aware that we have limited options in fighting them. As shown on the flyers we distributed, some of these cancers include those that affect the breasts, cervix, bowel, ovaries, skin, blood, and lots of others organs.
Overall, thousands of Nigerians die from these cancers every year. In 2018, for instance, a total of 115,950 new cancer cases were recorded in Nigeria, and 70,327 of those affected, died. Those affected include our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, aunties, uncles, friends, colleagues, and employees. The impacts are, therefore, devastating for everyone. As such, we urge Nigerians to be aware of these cancers and to get appropriately armed against them. Prevention and early detection remain the most effective strategies for beating them. Together, we can win this fight. With the right information, we have a chance at emerging victorious in this fight.
As already hinted, we at the OCI Foundation have taken bold steps to champion the fight against breast and cervical cancers. Along with prostate cancer, these make up the top 3 cancers in Nigeria. Cervical cancer alone accounted for the death of 10,403 Nigerian women, out of the 14,943 that were diagnosed with it in 2018. We promised never to relent until every Nigerian is well armed in this fight. As a matter of fact, we took our health campaign to a whole new level in the past few months. We are pleased to inform the good people and Government of Nigeria that the OCI Foundation have developed an innovative way of empowering Nigerian youths in the fight against these 2 cancers. Sadly, these cancers affect, not just our women, but all of us, whether directly or indirectly.
Our Campaign is called the “Arm Our Youths Health Campaign” (also known as the ArOY Health Campaign). The principles of the ArOY Campaign are unique, and are backed by scientific evidence. They have been endorsed by the Harvard Medical School in the United States of America, and are realistic, affordable, sustainable, and wide-reaching. The World Health Organization were also present during the flag-off ceremony in Anambra State back in September 2019, and gave its full endorsement to this Campaign.
Simply put, the ArOY Campaign aims to integrate anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer teachings into the regular curriculum of all senior secondary schools in Nigeria. It has already been fully implemented in all the schools in Anambra State, while Benue State will introduce it within the next few months. Details are all on our website, but we intend to achieve 100% coverage of all the schools and states in Nigeria. In view of this, we will, in due course, be approaching all relevant ministries, parastatals and institutions that will be vital in making this a success. Representatives of some of these bodies are here today. Please, welcome us when we come knocking. Reach out to us, and let us make this happen.
In ending this speech, we have one good news for everyone. We can actually all start the process or arming ourselves, right here, right now, this minute. Bring out your phones, ladies and gentlemen, and download the “OCI CerviBreast” mobile phone application. It is free, and available on the Android Play Store. Please, do this now, and share it with all your contacts. Remember, the menace of cancer is a threat to everyone. United, we stand a chance. Divided, we will surely fail.
Let us all join hands and do this for our children, our youths, and our Country. God bless you all. Thank you.