Towards attaining Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria and in commemoration of the October International Cancer Awareness Month and World Sight Day, the Mass Medical Mission, is conducting free cancer, eye and dental screenings for members of the public.
The screening exercises are taking place every Wednesday and Friday at Mass Medical Mission House, 31 Bode Thomas Street, Surulere, Lagos.
The Mass Medical Mission initiated the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP), which has been spearheading community-based mass cancer screening across the country since 2007.
To date, over 200,000 people have been screened/vaccinated and treated while millions of others have been reached through massive awareness and advocacy campaigns.
The effort has contributed to a reduction of cancer deaths in Nigeria from 240 deaths daily to 196 deaths daily between 2008 and 2018 according to the WHO.
In a statement, the Mass Medical Mission said efforts have been scaled up to include several free life-saving initiatives such as the Mission PinkCruise - a free community-based health outreach and Mission PinkVISSION - the eye aspect of the free community outreach using Mobile Ophthalmic unit - "VISSION" stands for Voluntary Integrated Sight Saving Initiative Of Nigeria.
The Mission PinkDentist and free screening at the Lagos Centre take place every Wednesday (Wellness Wednesday) and Friday (Family Friday).
The PinkCruise of October is a global landmark month for health promotion. The PinkCruise is the first of its kind and is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for screening and treatment (including mammography, endoscopy, colonoscopy, colposcopy, cryotherapy, laboratory tests, vaccination and surgeries).
All the free health missions are targeted primarily at the underprivileged and are free to both the hosts and beneficiaries.
"This month is marked as International Cancer Awareness Month with special emphasis on breast cancer, the most common cancer in women globally. The 2nd Thursday of October every year is designated as World Sight Day and this year, World Sight Day falls on the 10th of October, 2019, with the call to action being: 'Vision First!'
"This is, therefore, an important opportunity to draw attention to all the challenges posed by these health issues to ensure that we all rally round to bring about a sustainable solution to the problems.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1 out of every 3 persons in the world will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
Over 18 million people develop cancer yearly with 9.6 million deaths. Cancer now contributes to 1 in 6 deaths globally. Unfortunately, 70 per cent of cancer deaths occurs in developing countries like Nigeria due to late detection.
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Quoting latest WHO data, the statement observed that every day in Nigeria 32 women die of breast cancer, 28 women die of cervical cancer, 16 men die daily from prostate cancer and 14 persons die of liver cancer.
According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), one person in the world goes blind every five seconds and a child goes blind every minute. Globally, more than one billion people who need eyeglasses do not have access to glasses.
Ninety per cent of blind people live in developing countries and three out of four cases of blindness and visual impairment are avoidable. In Nigeria, there are currently over one million blind adults aged 40 years and above.
The Medical Mission notes that blindness also has a significant impact on the life expectancy of the individual.
"Globally, the life expectancy of blind persons is one-third less than that of their sighted age mates and most of them die within 10 years of becoming blind. In Africa, the poor and blind live 20 years less than those who are only poor and 60 per cent of children die within 2 years of becoming blind.
"This dismal disparity in the impact of these health challenges between the developed and developing countries negates the WHO constitution of 1948 declaring health a fundamental human right as well as the Health for All agenda set by the Alma Ata declaration in 1978.
"This is a time for all to consider the clarion call by WHO to ensure Universal health coverage (UHC) so that all individuals and communities can have access to quality and essential promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services without being exposed to financial hardship in the process.
Groups could also apply to be included as hosts in the 2020 schedule of the free community-based outreaches by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.