28 Nigerian Women Diagnosed of Cervical Cancer Daily -Experts

Experts have said that at the end of each day, about 22 Nigerian women would have died of cervical cancer and another 28 would have been diagnosed of the disease.

Speaking at the grand finale of the 2023 4Girls and Women (4GW) Innovation Bootcamp, a project for cervical cancer prevention held at Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, a gynaecologist and Director of Research, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Oliver Ezechi and other experts made the submission.

According to Ezechi, when the Innovation Bootcamp project was announced few months ago, over 600 entries were received, and 70 teams were selected from across the country and were trained.

“Out of the 70, we selected the best 7 teams for the grand finale. We camped them for 1 month in which they undergo training and today in the grand finale”, said Prof. Ezechi

These seven teams, he revealed, were going back to their various communities to implement these projects in the next six months

“Each team will identify 50 young girls each that are willing to be vaccinated and 50 women that are willing to undergo cervical cancer screening Free of Charge.

“Once they are screened and there is anyone identified to be at high risk, she will also be treated free of charge.

“In essence what we are trying to do is to look at the best ways to offer these services. At the end of 6 months which the project will be executed, we’ll look at the challenges encountered and the best strategies they used. it’ll now be replicated in 16 states across the country.

“The same process will be carried out for 50 girls and 50 women in these 16 states. After having done that, the best approach will now be presented to Federal Ministry of Health so that it can be replicated in other states” said Prof Ezechi

A co-principal investigator of the project and professor of Medicine from St Louis University, United Kingdom, Dr. Juliet Iwelunmor, recalled how the trauma of losing her sister-in-law to cervical cancer awakened her to prevalence of the ailment and the need to curb the killer disease.

“Basically our aim is to reach women and girls so that we can work together collectively to eliminate cervical cancer from Nigeria, this is achievable and it’s our collective responsibility” said Prof Juliet Iwelunmor.

Prof of Medicine, University of North Carolina/ Co-Principal Investigator in Partnership with NIMR, Joseph Tucker emphasized the need to seize the opportunity to do more self sampling and more vaccination for young girls. “This activity is not only raising the profile of Cervical cancer and spreading awareness around it, but also showing the creative ideas that is practical, feasible and innovative. This is really the cutting edge of cervical cancer prevention” said Prof Tucker.

The project was designed to curb spread of cervical cancer and boost vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in young girls aged nine to 29 and HPV screening for women between 30 and 65 years.

At the end of the Final Pitching Ceremony Program, Certificates of Recognition were presented to each participants, while Winners Choice Award was given to “Team Reach Her”. Peers Choice Award went to “Team Girl Care”

Overall Winner of the Maiden Edition of the 4GW Innovation Bootcamp 2023 (1st Position) was Team Project Shade and received N1M cash gift.

2nd Position was “Team Reach Her” – N750,000.

Third 3rd Position was “Team White” and received N500,000 cash gift