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An Address Presented By The Executive Director Of Lift Above Poverty Organisation (Lapo), Sabina Idowu-Osehobo At The 2020 World Cancer Day Held On Thursday, February 5, 2020 With The Theme: “I Am And L Will.”

The Chairman

Guest Speaker

Distinguished Guests

Gentlemen of the Press

Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Board of Directors, management and staff of Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), I am delighted to welcome you all to the 2020 World Cancer Day with the theme: “I am and I will.”

LAPO is a frontline non-governmental and not-for-profit development organization founded by Dr Godwin Eseiwi Ehigiamusoe in 1987. The organisation is committed to the empowerment of poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria through the implementation of innovative financial and non-financial development programmes, which address the root causes and manifestations of poverty such as poor health and economic powerlessness.

The organisation believes that poverty is further reinforced by diseases and vice versa and has therefore been involved in community health improvement and playing a major role in addressing the challenges of HIV/AIDS, malaria, maternal and child health issues particularly in rural communities across the country. In 2019 alone, we reached a total of 274,929 community members with our health services, including screening and referrals with over 976,368 persons reached with information, education and enlightenment materials. Between October 2015 and October 2019, a total of 14,413 community members benefitted from our Community Health Outreach (CHO) programmes in Edo, Oyo state and FCT, Abuja covering full medical compliments and surgery.

As a development organisation, LAPO is concerned that cancer is now a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria with over 100,000 persons diagnosed every year of which about 80% die due to late detection. Globally, 9.6 million people die from cancer every year even though over 80% of cancer cases are preventable with early detection while 40% of the disease can be eradicated by lifestyle changes.

In 2016, the LAPO Community Campaign for Cancer Control (LAPO-C4) project was initiated by the Founder towards preventing and mitigating cancer-related deaths in Nigeria. The main focus of the project is mass awareness creation, basic screening services for detection of pre-malignant conditions and building referral linkages for uptake of medical services. The project is being implemented in collaboration with 13 Community-Based Organizations across Lagos, Edo, Imo, Abuja and Rivers State.

With the LAPO-C4 project, LAPOhas created cancer awareness amongst Five Million community members till date as well as screened 27,689 beneficiaries for the ailment. A total of 19,893 persons have been referred for screening and 339 persons with health conditions referred for treatment in government-approved health facilities.

World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease. The need for improved access to basic cancer screening services across the country cannot be overemphasized. The best approach is the integration of cancer control services, including the inclusion of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) HPV vaccine in the routine immunisation schedule at Primary Health Care Centres in accordance with the 2018 – 2020 Nigeria National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP). We are also advocating for a government policy on cancer treatment support for indigent individuals considering the enormous financial burden of managing the ailment in Nigeria.

We appeal to well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations to support LAPO in the implementation of cancer prevention and MCH projects in the country. We need your commitment to create a cancer-free world. 

Thank you and God bless.

Sabina Idowu-Osehobo

Office of the Executive Director

Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO)

February 6, 2020

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