By Elijah Ugani: Health Correspondent
A factional governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State, Senator John Owan-Enoh and Nollywood actor, Bishop Ime last weekend joined hundreds of other prominent people at Transcorp Hotels in Calabar to raise awareness on the need to screen for cancer regularly.
Mr. Owan-Enoh who said he was impressed with the initiative of using arts to advocate for screening, treatment and management of breast cancer noted that: “This is the first time I am meeting Dr. Nchewi, the president and founder of Pink Africa. I have listened to her speak, I can see her passion, she has done so much to sensitize the people, and having seen all the corporate partners, I will get Jorany hotel to for cooperate partnership.”
Jorany hotels is said to be owned by Mr. Owan-Enoh with branches across the state. And, the Senator also lamented the loss of prominent Cross Riverians to cancer and promised that his campaign team will unveil a blueprint for the health sector.
“We lost a very prominent person in this State, the former minister of Information and Environment, Mr. John Odey to cancer. We must all get involved in the fight against this life threatening disease, I will speak with Dr. Nchewi on my personal contribution, I will unveil a comprehensive health blueprint,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr. Bishop who is popularly referred to as ‘Okon Lagos’ sued for the cooperation of individuals, public and private organisations among others to contribute to the awareness, treatment and management of the disease.
Bishop who thrilled the audience with jokes aimed at sensitizing the attendees on the fight against breast cancer stressed that the awareness so far was not enough as many people are not even aware of the disease.
Earlier, Dr. Ani noted that: “The importance of this Pink Ball is the use of art to express the causes, effects and cure of cancer. Pink signifies color for love and hope; there is hope for the African woman, the African woman can be happy again.”
Ani who said the foundation offers support to women suffering from breast cancer also explained that: “We go to the field and pick women, women in hard to reach areas, cannot afford a square meal a day, cancer affects women of all tribes.”
She lamented the cost of screening for breast cancer and commended those who have aided the foundation in doing so even as she hoped that there will be more to treat the patients.
“Breast cancer is the most killer disease in women. Breast feeding for 18 months reduces breast cancer. We need an average of NGN18,000.00 to screen one woman. We must commend the wife of the Governor, Dr. Linda Ayade who helped us to screen 200 women. The question is, after screening what next, we are gathered to also raise funds for the treatment of cancer patients,” Ani said.
A survivor and retired permanent secretary, Pastor Eno Oqua shared her experience to give hope to those who have been diagnosed of the disease and advised them to live healthy lives.
“Breast cancer is not the end of life, I had this affliction over ten years but I am out of it looking more beautiful. Early detection is the answer. If you detect it early enough, do not see it as a shame or stigma. If you have it let your doctor know, examine yourself. At first it was like death sentence, some people discouraged me from telling it to anyone, counseling means a lot. Cancer attacks the red cells in the body, you have to eat food and feel happy,” she said.
The event featured exhibition of different arts work by professional artists and mostly secondary school students.
There are several screening centers in Cross River State including the Asi Ukpo diagnostic center located along Mary Slessor Avenue in Calabar; the Ash Premium diagnostic center located at Satellite Town in Calabar; the O & I Healthcare diagnostic center located opposite the Federal Neuro psychiatric Hospital along Calabar Road in Calabar; the Standard diagnostic ltd located beside UNICAL small gate and the Medical Women Center located along Moore road in Calabar.
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