The Olabisi Onabanjo University Women Association (OOUWA) on Thursday, 10th October, 2019 organised a day awareness programme on prevention, care and treatment of Breast and Cervical Cancer among women folks in the society. The event, which was held at the OGD Hall, University Main Campus, Ago-Iwoye, was well-attended especially by women folks from within and outside the University Community including members of the 37 years old Association from all walks of life. The lecture series of the programme, which were handled by eminent scholars and experts from the medical profession, was preceded by awareness Health Walk of members, students, and guests around the Main Campus amid fanfare and ecstasy under the watch of the Directorate of Sports.
In his opening remark, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde congratulated the leadership and other members of the Association on its landmark achievements recorded since its inception, including the Awareness programme on Breast and Cervical Cancer. He stressed that there could not have been a better time for the awareness programme than now, when the whole world is clamouring for drastic reduction in sufferings among women folks, and the high rate of children and women mortality, particularly due to the scourge of breast and cervical cancer, as well as malaria and other related diseases. He, thereafter, encouraged them to continue to complement the efforts of the University Management at improving the human development index (HDI) of the workforce of the University, through the provision of health care services, enlightenment and awareness programmes, which according to the Vice-Chancellor, have very significant impact on human capital development.
Speaking further, Prof. Olatunde, out of his usual empathetic principle and concern for the welfare of staff and students in the University, declared that the Management of the University was ready to be part of efforts towards improving and sustaining good health status of all University staff. He observed that though the medical services for staff of the University had been monetised for every individual staff, members should, as a matter of urgency, report every prohibitive health care bill of staff for necessary support. In his words, “as a University, we take much interest in the health of our staff, hence the University Management had directed that in every semester, the Directorate of Health Services must go round the faculties and carry out health screening of staff”. He however, noted that some members of staff did not attend the maiden edition of the screening exercise and, therefore, advised that “staff should respond positively to the Management’s efforts at ensuring that we all enjoy good health within the system, by being part of the semester screening exercise”. The Vice-Chancellor further disclosed that “the Directorate of Health Services had been instructed to report any life threatening health problems of any staff for the University to give necessary support, as the University prefers to foot the health care bills of living members, rather than paying for Caskets”.
Delivering her address, the OOUWA President and wife of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. (Mrs.) Ganiyat Olayinka Olatunde, who welcomed all, thanked the Vice-Chancellor and his Management team for their magnanimity and good hands of gesture, usually extended, whenever the need arises. She enjoined them to keep up the good work and that like Oliver Twist, the Association would definitely need more of their supports. She further expressed her profound gratitude to the guest lecturers and other invited guests, especially those from the neighbouring communities outside the University, for their show of love and concern for women health issues. While giving a brief on the evolution of the Association, Dr. (Mrs.) Olatunde disclosed that OOUWA which is an Association of female members of staff and wives of male members of staff of the University, was established in 1986 as a not-for-profit making organisation to, among other selfless services, promote friendship amongst its members, help the less privileged and contribute to the development of the University and the immediate communities.
She highlighted some of the achievements recorded by the Association to include social activities for children of staff, different forms of supports to members, provision of relief packages to victims of disasters, sponsorship of some indigent female students of the University, and establishment of Ajoke Adesanya Crèche, to overcome the challenges of staff and students who are nursing mothers. She further noted that the current leadership of the Association had equally added to the commendable feats that included, but not limited to health sensitisation activities on OOU Radio, fund mobilisation from donors, improvement in the facilities at the Crèche through the provision and installation of deep well with water pumping machine, water storage tank, landscaping of the Crèche surrounding, and erection of signpost. These, she attributed to the unwavering commitment of the past and present OOUWA leadership and the sacrificial efforts of the entire members within and outside the University Community.
While revealing that plans were in the offing to improve social activities among members, improve the Crèche facilities and services to meet international standard and increase community awareness and patronage, the OOUWA President emphasised the Association’s resolve to engage in self-investment that would impact on the society. According to her, “we would engage in self-investment through workshop, training, seminars that bother on health and wellness, home and family, profession and carriers, economic and financial improvement, religious harmony, social and community engagement, for more meaningful contribution to OOU and its environs, Nigeria, and the world at large”. She, thereafter, solicited for more formal support from the University, in form of annual subvention to the Association, to assist in the implementation of developmental programmes for the benefit of all, adding that OOUWA in anticipation of the continued supports from the Vice-Chancellor and the Management team, would reciprocate the gesture by pursing noble causes that would complement the efforts being made to move the University forward.
In her lecture entitled: Cervical Cancer Screening and Prevention, Dr. (Mrs.) Bolanle Adefuye, a medical expert from the Department of Medicine, Obafemi Awolowo College of Health Sciences, Sagamu, whose lecture centred on all about Cervical Cancer ranging from prevention, screening, causes, and diagnosis, submitted that women must take active part in their wellness and good health at all times. The guest lecturer disclosed that Cervical Cancer is the third most common female cancer type world-over, with a disturbingly high rate in Nigeria according to the data of epidemiology of cervical cancer. While explaining that cancer simply means uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in any part of the body due to chemicals, radiation, and micro-organisms like bacteria, viruses etc. Dr. Adefuye noted that Cervical Cancer is associated with one of the female organs known as Cervix, mainly caused by genital Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), adding that HPV infection can occur through sexual intercourse and vertical transmission usually from mother to child and fomites.
In line with the current efforts to decimate the scourge world-over, the guest lecturer advised the women folks to be conscious of such symptoms as continuous vaginal discharge inspite of treatment, thick discharge with foul smelling, repeated vaginitis and UTI, post coital bleeding, irregular or inter-menstrual bleeding, especially in premenopausal phase, etc and get screened immediately through Pap Smear test, visual inspection, HPV DNA Testing etc. While noting that cervical cancer is now a virtually preventable disease through vaccination and screening strategies, Dr. (Mrs) Adefuye submitted that women folks must embrace preventive measures through lifestyle change by avoiding early marriages, avoiding multiple partners, use of condom to avoid STD and HPV diseases, improving nutrition and personal hygiene, regular exercise, health check-up, avoiding smoking and alcoholism etc.
Similarly, Dr. (Mrs.) Adeola Kuku, a medical health practitioner from Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu who gave another presentation on Breast Cancer prevention, noted that it is the most common cancer in women in both developed and less developed world, with a global health estimate of about 508,000 death recorded in women due to breast cancer in 2011 alone. While noting that almost 50 percent of breast cancer cases and 58 percent of associated death occurred in less developed world according to the GLOBOCAN (2008), Dr.(Mrs.) Adeola Kuku emphasised the need for moderate lifestyle and adequate breast feeding for women folks, as Breast Cancer risk factors including alcohol use, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and Familial history, reproductive factors like early menarche, late menopause, late age of child birth, oral contraceptives, and hormone replacement therapy, have all been identified as root causes.
Dr. (Mrs.) Adeola Kuku further revealed that Breast Cancer Control measures include Prevention, Early Detection, Diagnosis and Treatment, and Rehabilitation Palliative Care. On prevention, she stressed that raising general awareness, control of modifiable lifestyle, effective integrated prevention of non-communicable diseases by ensuring healthy diet, physical activity and control of alcohol intake, over-weight and obesity, are the basics which must be strictly adhered to. Similarly, Dr. (Mrs.) Adeola Kuku emphasised that early detection is the corner stone of breast cancer control measure, which she said improves the outcome and survival rate from the disease. She concluded that women must endeavour to submit themselves for regular screening, through such different means as Breast Self-Examination (BSE), Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) and Mammography Screening for early stage detection of this cancer type for further diagnosis and early treatment.
It would be recalled that OOUWA had since inception 33 years ago, prioritised the health care of women and children in the University Community and thus had been at the fore front of women and children care programmes within and outside the University, and by extension, the Nigerian Society. The construction of Madam Ajoke Adesanya Ultra-modern Crèche, Free Cancer Test, Supports for Pregnant Women, sponsorship of indigent students in the University to mention but a few, were among the past commendable efforts of various leadership of the Association.In the entourage of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ganiyu Olatunde, were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Deji Agboola, the Registrar, Mr Femi Ogunwomoju, the University Librarian, Dr.Adebambo Oduwole (Rep. by Mrs. Ronke Adekumisi), and the Bursar, Mr. Semiu Makinde.
The event, which was also a beehive of women folks from within and outside the University community, witnessed the presence of some distinguished personalities from the women fold. They included the Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Prof. Stella B. M. Fetuga, Director of Health Services, Dr.(Mrs). Ogunbowale, immediate past Registrar of the University, Mrs. Omolara Osunsanya, Deputy Registrar Academic Affairs, Mrs. Yetunde Ogunsanwo, Prof.(Mrs.) Stella Erinosho, Prof. (Mrs). Sotonade, Dr.(Mrs). Williams, Dr.(Mrs.) Apata and Dr.(Mrs.) Bukonla Osinsanwo. Others were Olori Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye, Chief (Mrs.) Olanike Adenugba, Olori Limeri of Awa-Ijebu, Chief(Mrs.) Caroline Abeeb, Olori Oloru of Oru, Chief (Mrs) Adejoke, Olori Alaporu of Ilaporu, Chief (Mrs.) Oluwayemisi Quadri, Iyalode of Awa-Ijebu, Chief (Mrs.) Abosede Soyemi, Iyalaje of Ago-Iwoye, Alhaja Kikelomo Ogunjobi, Iyalaje of Ilaporu, Chief (Mrs.) Iyabo Owoseni, and Iyaloja of Ago-Iwoye, Otunba (Mrs.) Ronke Odunneye.