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African First Ladies unite to fight cancer



From left: Represntative of the First Lady of Uganda, Mrs. Janet Museveni; First Lady of The Gambia, Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow; First Lady of Turkiye, Mrs. Emine Erdogan; First Lady of Nigeria, Senator Oluremi Tinubu; Speaker, House of Representative, Tajudeen Abbas; First Lady, Sierra Leone, Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio; Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike and representative of the First Lady of Mauritania, Dr. Mariem Mohammed Fadel Dah, during the event at Nicon Hilton, Abuja...yesterday

First Ladies across Africa have joined forces to accelerate cancer prevention and treatment.

They are focusing on promoting early detection and treatment to reduce the disease in the continent.

The First Ladies announced their resolve to battle the disease during the third Regional Seminar on Cancer Awareness, hosted by the Nigeria’s First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, yesterday in Abuja.

The seminar, which is being attended by First Ladies from member-states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), aims to share knowledge and mobilise resources to combat cancer, particularly breast and cervical cancer, among women.

In a statement by her spokesperson, Busola Kukoyi, Senator Tinubu emphasised the need to reverse the grim statistics of cancer prevalence in Nigeria, which has shown that 127,763 new cases and 79,542 deaths were recorded in the past year alone.

Addressing the seminar, the First Lady said while President Bola Tinubu had fully taken up the diagnostic and treatment component of cancer care, she would lead the advocacy to promote innovative approaches to its prevention and early detection.

She expressed her commitment to promoting innovative approaches to cancer prevention and early detection with a focus on reducing late presentation and improving treatment outcomes.

“My major interest is to reduce the prevalence of late presentation in order to improve treatment outcomes. Reports from various cancer registries in the country, which have been corroborated by Globocan Data reports, showed that there were 127,763 new cases and 79,542 deaths within the year.

Also, the prevalent cases of cancer over a period of five years in the country stood at 269,109.

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“Globocan shows that cervical cancer is the second commonest cancer among women in Nigeria. Fortunately, it is preventable and curable when detected early. This has led to my stand in championing preventive measures and early detection approach to all preventable and curable cancers in Nigeria,” Senator Tinubu said.

House of Representatives Speaker Tajudeen Abbas stressed the need to enact a National Cancer Act.

He said with the First Ladies taking the lead in the advocacy, he was sure the outcome would be more positive.

The First Lady of Turkey, Emine Erdogan, urged Africans to promote good dietary system and leverage their rich medicinal resources.

Presenting situation reports on cancer management in their various countries, the First Ladies from OIC African member-states, including Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Islamic Republic of Mauritania, emphasised the need to forge alliances and raise awareness on the deadly disease.

After the seminar and its technical session, the Abuja Declaration was made by Senator Oluremi Tinubu while the other First Ladies appended their signatures.

The resolutions of the Declaration include improved funding, heightened advocacy, and improved collaboration between member-states.

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