Lagos — A non-governmental organisation, George Kerry Life Foundation, has launched a community outreach programme to educate local women on the prevention and treatment of some ailments. The focus of the group is on breast and cervical cancer, most common among women.
The NGO launched the initiative tagged CHOICE which stands for, "Changing Her Opportunity, Improving Complete Existence" in partnership with Magee-Women's Hospital of UPMC-USA Pittsburgh, one of the top tier hospitals managing women in the US.
It is also supported by the Mandela Washington Fellowship and the Young African Leaders Initiative, as well as the Bridgeway Microfinance Bank.
Speaking with newsmen, founder of the foundation, Dr. Matilda Kerry- Osazuwa, disclosed that about 500 women at Idi Araba community in Lagos would be trained and they are expected to transmit the knowledge to other women in the community.
Kerry-Osazuwa, who is a senior registrar in the Department of Community Health, Lagos State University, lamented that most women were lackadaisical about their health, saying that the programme would be extended to other parts of the country.
She said findings conducted by the foundation showed that many women did not like going for breast and cancer screening despite that fact that it was free.
"LUTH is there and it is relatively affordable like the registration and treatment, they are affordable for women. In fact the breast and cervical screening in my department is free but the women are not coming," she said.
The essence of CHOICE, she stressed, was to awaken the consciousness of women to take care of their health because the pressure on women as wives, mothers and sometimes breadwinners was too much.
Kesi Howard, Outreach Coordinator for Magee-Women's Hospital, said: "We are starting at the community level. We want them to tell us what is it they need or want so that they can take care of themselves.
"We want to empower other women to help us educate the community. The whole purpose is to teach people how to be accountable for their health."
Managing Director/CEO of Bridgeway Microfinance Bank Ltd, Obiageli Ibennah, who is also the founder of Elle Collective Women's Empowerment Initiative, said the bank was fully supporting the initiative as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), adding that the financial institution had a heart for cancer.
"As a bank, we also have the same goal of promoting women's health and empowerment. We believe that when women are healthy, they can be alert to work and make money," she said.
Ibenna disclosed the bank's willingness to empower some of the women to be trained with finances to promote their trades and businesses.