World Cancer Day 2021: NAWOJ Encourages Commitment For A Cancer-Free Nigeria

As Nigeria joins the global community to mark this year’s World Cancer Day, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) encourages individuals to go for checkups and examination, regularly, as early detection saves lives.

February 4, every year is observed as World Cancer Day. It is an international event to raise awareness of cancer and encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.

The 2021 global theme: I Am And I Will, acknowledges the fact that our commitment to act will lead to powerful progress in reducing the global impact of cancer and create a cancer-free world. It is a call for everyone, irrespective of who you are, because your actions – big and small – will make lasting, positive change., according to a joint press release signed by NAWOJ National President, Ladi Bala and National Secretary, Helen Udofa respectively.

According to the United Nations, such actions have an impact on everyone around us, within our neighbourhoods, communities and cities. And that more than ever, our actions are being felt across borders and oceans. This year is a reminder of the enduring power of cooperation and collective action. When we choose to come together, we can achieve what we all wish for: a healthier, brighter world without cancer. Together, all of our actions matter.

Although the Federal Government, last year, allayed fears of a rise in Nigeria’s cancer burden; saying it has upgraded seven tertiary health institutions to manage invasive cancer and cancer-related illnesses in the country, NAWOJ observes that some factors still militate against government efforts at effectively combating cancer scourge in Nigeria.

These include poor awareness, poor health seeking behaviour, low level of non-governmental investments, low number of skilled health care personnel, funding gaps. Other factors are the myopic view that cancer is a disease of the rich amid the reality that the poor and downtrodden are suffering in silence as well as myths and misconceptions that lead to stigmatization and discrimination against people living with cancer. Unless government intervenes significantly, more Nigerians would continue to die of cancer.

Therefore, NAWOJ calls on the federal and state governments to partner national and international stakeholders to record more laudable achievements in managing cancer cases in the country, as well as commit adequate resources to reduce cancer death and provide better quality of life for patients and survivors.

Also, Nongovernmental organizations, civil societies and other stakeholders should intensify advocacies and organize more sensitization programmes, especially in rural areas, to enlighten the public on preventive measures to reduce the prevalence of the killer disease.

There is no doubt that there is cure when detected early, therefore, we encourage regular checkups and examinations as most cancers can be removed with either drugs, radiotherapy or surgeries, when detected early.

NAWOJ believes everyone has the capacity to address the cancer burden and that, together,
we can work to reduce cancer risk factors and overcome barriers to early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care in Nigeria.

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