To kick start the series of events marking the 2019 World Cancer Day celebrations, The Police Health Maintenance Limited was at the Abuja City Gate, for the Gate and Sky lighting event organized by the Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF).
It was an event graced by major stakeholders in the health sector in Nigeria especially those involved in the advocacy and fight against cancer. These included Prof Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, Nigerian Cancer Society led by its president, Dr Ishaya Lawal, and of course the Kebbi State governor Sen Atiku Bagudu who is also the spouse of Dr. Zainab S Bagudu, the founder of MCF. Speakers at the event all agreed and harped on the need for early screening and detection of the disease which many have erroneously termed to be a death sentence.
In her address, the Dr Bagudu, hostess of the event thanked the participants for coming out to honour the event and show their solidarity for the campaign and urged them to make a commitment of what they can/will do in the fight against cancer. She also expressed gratitude to the ministry of Women Affairs and the FCT administration for their efforts and permission in lighting up the gate.
Prof Adewole expressed regret that a very high of Nigerians (10 every hour) die from cancer every day. This narrative he said could be avoided with change of both lifestyle and early detection of the disease. According to him, “40% of the cancer cases in Nigeria are preventable, 40% can be detected early and cured while 20% will require palliative care”. He also congratulated Dr Zainab on her election as a Director into the Board of Union of International Cancer Control, the first by a Nigerian.
Highlights of the event include the lighting of the sky lanterns and the city gate in the colours of orange and blue. The sky lanterns were to honour those who have lost their lives in the battle against the disease as well as those who are still battling with it. The Police HMO team was led by Mrs. Aisha Ali, Corporate Affairs manager was not left out in the lighting of the lanterns.
According to Dr Zainab, the gate is to be in the colours for the next seven days. The lighting of the gate is the first time a significant landmark will be lit in commemoration of Cancer in Nigeria.