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World Paediatric Cancer Day: Lions Club Region 8 Partners UUTH

World Paediatric Cancer Day: Lions Club Region 8 Partners UUTH

…For Awareness, management and Support For Cancer Patients

… Over 400,000 children develop cancer yearly – WHO

By Saviour Ekpe

The International Association of Lions Clubs District 404 A2 Nigeria joined other Lions all over the world to celebrate The World Paediatric Cancer Day on Wed 15th February 2023 with the theme,  Better Survival is Achievable Through your Hands. The District Governor, Lion Asiwaju Jide Bello PMJF flagged off the event in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

In the Akwa Ibom State capital, Uyo, Lions of Region 8 led by the Region Chairperson Lion Enobong Ekefre and the Region Paediatric Cancer Coordinator, Lion Dr. Ibiok Usendiah, FMCOrtho, NLCF joined the District in her Paediatric Cancer Awareness Symposium.  The event which took place the same day started at about 11am at the Conference Hall of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH).

In his address, the Honourable Commissioner for health Akwa Ibom State, Prof Augustine Umoh who was represented by a Director in the Nursing Services of the Ministry, Mrs. Patricia Etim appreciated the Lions Club for the initiative and noted that 80% of the paediatric cancer patients in Less Developed countries like ours die from the disease but that the State Government is making efforts to improve the situation.

The Chairman of the event, Lion Barr. Anselem Eyo who drew from his experience of the loss of his son to Childhood cancer about 40 years ago, lamented that the challenges in terms of equipment and human personnel haven’t improved in the state since then as we are still referring patients to other states for cancer care as was the case 40years ago. He called on the relevant policymakers/government institutions to advance the treatment & management of the disease.

In her address, the Permanent Secretary of the Akwa Ibom State Hospitals Management Board, Mrs. Stella Etokakpan expressed the tragic pains associated with not only the cancer patients but their family members including the cost implication. She announced that the Wife of the Executive Governor, Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel has series of programmes and activities as well as available funds to assist cancer patients in the state. The Permanent Secretary encouraged Doctors and patients to tap into it. She re-echoed the burden and high cost of treating cancers having lost her spouse to it and thereafter made her personal donation to the project.

Declaring the event open, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Prof Emem Bassey pledged the hospital’s continual support to the project and urged public-spirited individuals, government and institutions to support the project. Represented by the Chairman of Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Dr. Clement Inyang, the CMD welcomed Lions and guests to World Paediatric Cancer Day. He welcomed the Lions club members to the hospital and expressed his appreciation to lions club for taking on the awareness campaign for paediatric cancers. He encouraged the campaign to be extended to the villages where witchcraft is widely believed to be responsible for such cancers and other ailments with a consequent late presentation in the hospitals.

The District Governor’s address and that of the District Paediatric Cancer Committee Chairman, Dr. Bassey Bassey were read by the Region Chairperson Lion Enobong Ekefre. He informed that the Awareness campaign was a collaborative campaign by lions worldwide and cited World Health Organization’s statistics that about 400,000 children between ages 0-19 develop cancers yearly and called on everyone to join the Lions Clubs International to offer support for the patients, survivors and their families.

The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Eno-obong Bassey, FWACP a Consultant Paediatrician and Head of Haemato-Oncology Unit at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital delivered a lecture on the topic; The Burden of Paediatric Cancer Management in a Resource Poor Setting.

She took time to educate the audience on the prevalence, myths, causes, prevention, treatment, management and challenges of Childhood cancer care (social, financial, political, government policies and health institutional challenges). She observed that while only about 20-30% of paediatric cancer patients survive in Nigeria, in well-developed countries survival is up to 80%. She identified lack of funds by patients to tackle the disease, late presentation, belief in witchcraft, lack of diagnostic kits like Immunohistochemistry, chemotherapy and radiotherapy machines as major challenges to survival in our environment. She stated that cancer affects various organs of the body and deserves to be given adequate attention as is malaria and HIV by Government and Non Governmental organizations. She expressed her appreciation to lions clubs for the initiative.

Speaking earlier, the Head of Department of Paediatrics who co-hosted the event, Dr Ekong Udoh appreciated lions club for their collaboration with his department to make the event a success.

The symposium was rounded off with fund raising and a visit by lion leaders and Doctors of the Paediatrics Department to three paediatric cancer in-patients in the UUTH wards. Those who donated were the Chairman of the occasion, Lion Barr. Anselem Eyo, Past Region Chairperson; Deputy CMAC, Research and Training, UUTH, Dr. Christie Akwaowo, a Consultant Community Health Physician. Others included Lion Enoima Clinton, Committee Secretary; Lion Enobong Ekefre, Region 8 Chairperson and Lion Dr. Ibiok Usendiah, FMCOrtho, NLCF, Chairman, Region 8 Paediatric Cancer Committee who, alongside the Paediatric Oncologist, Dr. Enobong Bassey and other lions explained the mission of lions club to the parents of Paediatric Cancer patients and presented cash gifts to the parents of cancer patients in the hospital.

Heads of Departments in UUTH, Medical Students, Lions, patients and members of the public graced the event.


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