By Mary Agidi

The Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has assured of his readiness to build a cancer Centre in Ondo State before the expiration of his first term in office.

He made this known in Owo, during a town hall meeting at the Federal Medical Centre, to create awareness about cancer, organised by the Coalition Against Cancer in Nigeria, CACIN, to round up activities for the World Cancer Day.

The governor commended the founder of CACIN, which comprises different Non-Governmental Organisations in Ondo State that are concerned about the campaign against cancer, championed by Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, BRECAN.

Commenting on the lectures which were on the three common types of cancer; breast, postate, and cervical, Akeredolu pleaded with the younger ones not to engage in early sexual activity, saying they have enough years ahead to enjoy the act.

In her remarks, Mrs. Akeredolu, founder of CACIN, commended committee members of the Coalition and the support donors.

According to her, cancers in general was the rationale behind the formation of CACIN, while emphasising the need for organisations to team up against the disease, in order to achieve the desired result.

She noted that BRECAN focuses on breast cancer alone, and couldn’t have been able to shoulder the burden of attending to other types of cancers, hence the need to build synergy with other NGOs to get things done, and spread the tentacles.

Mrs. Akeredolu lauded the role of FMC, in the campaign against and treatment of patients by partnering with BRECAN.

She said CACIN was founded with a sincerity of purpose, noting that she understood what it means to experience cancer attack which was why she came up with support fund for the indigent victims.

According to her, she would continue to beg people to donate, regardless of the public misconceptions about the gesture, saying there were thousands of victims under the care of BRECAN.

In his welcome address, the local organising committee chairman of the Coalition Against Cancer in the state, Dr. Aba Katung noted that the campaign against cancer initiated by Mrs. Akeredolu had been yielding positive outcomes, saying that the formation of the coalition would create a paradigm shift in cancer control in the state.

He stated that there was no clear cancer policy, considering the low rate of the implementation of National Cancer Control Plan in Nigeria, adding that the N725million set aside for the treatment of cancer by the Federal government was insufficient.

He affirmed that plan was ongoing for the establishment of Cancer Care Center in the Federal Medical Center, Owo, facilitated by BRECAN.

The Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Friday Okonofua, Vice-Chancellor, Ondo State University of Medical Sciences, said he was impressed with the pace of fight against cancer spearheaded by the wife of the governor.

Okonofua, who was represented by the Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology department of the University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Lawal Oyeneyi, advised individuals to undergo cancer screening as a preventive measure, noting that there was no ample facility for the treatment in Nigeria.

Dr. Anna Weiss, a female breast cancer surgeon from Harvard, and team member of SHARING HOPE MEDICAL MISSION from the United States of America, implored individuals not to be ashamed or embarassed to be screened.

Chief Imam of Owo, Alhaji Aladesawe commended the efforts of the wife of the governor in the campaign against cancer.

He also lauded the magnanimity of the governor for paying pensioners the new minimum wage.

The Olowo of Owo kingdom, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye, encouraged all participants to make use of the lectures, while also commending the initiative.

He advised the people of Owo to give maximum support for the current administration, while highlighting some  achievements of the government.

Dignitaries at the event included the deputy governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, the Secretary to the State Governor, Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde, Chief of Staff to the governor, Chief Gbenga Ale, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, secondary school students, market women, among others.

The event features free breast and cervical screening, lectures and presentation of breast self examination dance, SEKEM.