NAWOJ calls on government to act and intervene urgently towards securing a healthy future for the Nigerian Populace


During her May Congress on Saturday, 18th of May 2024, the Nigeria Association Of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Lagos State Chapter extensively discussed about the state of the Nation, particularly as regards women, girls and youths’ health.

Some of the cogent areas highlighted by the association was the alarming rate of drug abuse among the Nigerian youths, which is on the increase daily, as well as the heavy rain and possible flooding to be expected this year, as predicated by the metrological agency – with Lagos underlined as one of the states to be significantly affected by these. Hence an open call to the government towards finding ways out to curb this menace in the society, and doing all that needs to be done to clear drainages, create accessible systems and safeguard lives for a healthy population across all generations.

Furthermore, during the lecture by the guest speaker on securing a healthy future for girls and women with HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) Vaccination, Aderonke Akinola-Akinwole (Social & Behaviour Change Specialist, UNICEF Lagos Field Office) highlighted that the women in Nigeria has one of the highest burdens of cervical cancer globally.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a group of viruses that can infect the genital areas of both men and women, and is transmitted through sexual intercourse via vaginal, anal and oral routes. These viruses are one of the leading causes of six types of cancer, including penile cancer, vulvar cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, vagina cancer, with cervical and anal cancers having the highest rate of occurrence.

She also revealed that, “Every year, over 12,000 women suffer from cervical cancer and about 8,000 of them die”. That is, in every 12 women who present with cervical cancer, about 8 of them die, leaving a high mortality rate of over 65%. Plus, the effect of these deaths and associated incapacitation is not only limited to the physical, emotional and financial suffering of the women, their families and communities. But the nation as a whole also suffers from these outcomes.

She then commended the current strategy of “prevention and treatment through screening” towards eradicating cervical cancer by the Nigerian government, while urging them to ensure that the HPV vaccine roll-out across the nation is successfully included into the routine immunisation schedule, especially for girls between the ages of 9 and 14 years.

According to National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), by 2025, the single dose of HPV vaccine which confers a lifetime cover should be fully routinized for girls at 9 years. And by 2030, 90% of girls should be fully vaccinated with HPV vaccine by the age of 15 years. While for women, 70% of women in Nigeria should be screened using a high-performance test by age 35, and again by age 45. With 90% of those identified to have cervical disease receiving appropriate treatment.

Conclusively, the key messages from this conversation, including roles of mothers, female journalists and the government in ensuring good health and wellbeing for the Nigerian people, as well as set goals towards achieving these was reiterated by the NAWOJ Lagos State Chapter Chairperson, Dr Mrs Adeola Ekine.

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