Ngo Excites Cancer Patients In Delta
Alphonsus Agborh writes on the rising cases of breast and prostrate cancer in the country and how a Non-Governmental Organisation, founded by the Delta State Secretary to State Government (SSG), Comrade (Mrs) Ovuozorie Macauley, came to the rescue of victims in the state.
it was a sorry sight to behold a woman whose breast had been eaten up by cancer. Like the biblical woman with an issue of blood, she was avioded like a plague in the crowd. Her friends, even family members, deserted her, leaving her hoping for survival in God.
That was the story of one Blessing Atagana, a native of Amai, in Ukwanni Local Government area of Delta State who stormed a cancer awareness programme at Oleh with her problems in Isoko recently.
It was her children, who conveyed her in a taxi to the venue of the campaign, organised by Elona Development Foundation.
Her arrival at the scene aroused curiosity, as government officials and the organisers of the programme expressed empathy with the woman’s plight over the years.
However, respite came to her when the chairman of the foundation and Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovouzourie Macauley, announced a cash donation of N500,000 to the woman to seek medical treatment in a reputable hospital, since the non-governmental organisation can not handle the case at that level.
At this point, Macauley advised that sufferers of such deadly disease should take advantage of the good health facilities provided by the Delta State government to live better, rather than going to quacks.
Unfortunately , the woman died few days after and it will not be out of place to adduce that part of the money may have gone into the burial of the woman.
Hundreds of women, whether from rich or poor families, have gone that way after being afflicted with breast or cervical cancer.
When such disease afflicts the poor, especially those in the rural areas where medical treatment is hard to come by, the victims, at first, resign themselves to fate or God or gods while the cancer exercises its latitude to eat up the affected part.
Based on the increasing rate of cancer among the populace, Comrade Macaulay decided to give a helping hand to sensitise communities of the need for women to keep abreast of both breast and cervical cancer, while the menfolk should be mindful of prostrate cancer that is now on the rampage.
For example within Edo/Delta sub-region, there were 525 cancer cases in 2008, of which 339 were women and 186 men. In 2009, the number of cases reached an alarming 955, of which 412 were males and 543 females. In 2005, over 89,000 women lost their lives to breast cancer and over 12,500 men died of prostrate cancer.
According to the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joseph Otumara, who witnessed the Elona campaign programme, the number could be reduced significantly through early detection via screening and timely treatment. That, Otumara said, prompted the state government to establish cancer screening centres across the state.
So, the Elona Development Foundation, during its kick-off campaign at Oleh, targeted over 1,500 men and women who were tested and treated. Among those screened were Comrade Macauley himself and Senator Francis Nwajei both of who tested negative to prostrate cancer.
Traditional and community leaders, captains of industries, market women, politicians and even school children from the area attended the ceremony.
The awareness campaign was meant for patients from Isoko North and Isoko South council areas, which probably informed the overwhelming turn-out of personalities to the event.
Why did the foundation kick off the campaign from Isoko? Executive Director of the group, Mrs. Stella Macauley, believed that “charity begins at home,” as Isoko area formed the focus of the group’s activities.
“Elona in collaboration with the Isoko North Local government Council, recently, embarked on a health-related intervention programme by way of provision of drugs and vaccines for the immunisation of children, pregnant women and unborn children in the local governments.
“It is pertinent to note that this programme, which is part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had eluded the people of this local government ever since. It was Elona’s intervention that spurred the government at the grassroots into action and the people are happier for it,” Mrs. Macauley explained.
Before the programme kicked off in earnest, a team of medical personnel took the message to churches and community leaders, preaching the good news for women who were noticing changes in their breasts or men suspecting prostrate cancer, not to shy away from coming out.
No wonder, the people responded positively and were screened and treated or given advice on what next should be done at the hospital.
The rate at which breast cancer scourge and prostrate cancer are spreading calls for concern from well-spirited organisations and individuals to put smiles on the faces of victims.
Despite the fact that the government of Delta State has 64 General Hospitals, over 400 health centres and a teaching hospital, people at the grassroots still need to be sensitised on the need to seek medical treatment promptly, so that sufferers of terminal diseases like Mrs. Atagana, do not die before help reaches them. A stitch in time, it is often said, saves nine.Share