Wednesday the 13th of February marked another milestone in S.M.I.L.E foundation’s campaign to create awareness about cervical cancer in Nigeria.
The project, which is named #CheatOnCervicalCancer commenced on the 7th of January 2019. The online outreach ran from 7-31st January 2019 with a total of 12 million people reached through all social media platforms. The majority of this number was reached via Twitter.
After weeks of careful planning and preparation, the stage was set for the second phase of the project which were the community outreaches held in Abia and Lagos states. The Lagos state outreach took place at the Primary Health Centre in Iwaya community, and the Abia state outreach took place at Aba South Primary Healthcare Centre.
On the D-day, registration started at 7:30am, and by 8:00am, there were over 200 women present on site in both states for screening. The registration process included taking down basic contact information of the women and giving of number tallies which were consistent with the order of arrival. The information collected during registration included basic contact information like Name, age and sex, as well as information about marital status, whether they were sexually active and how many children they had, if any. This information was used to determine if the women were qualified for screening and also for linking any positive results to risk factors, which is essential in any outreach for referral purposes.
Next was Health Education in different languages. English language, pidgin English and Yoruba in Lagos; English, pidgin and Igbo language in Abia state. The topics covered during the health education included the importance of cervical cancer screening, the screening procedure and the risk factors associated with cervical cancer. The health education was an interactive one and the health education team was able to answer most of their questions.
The screening commenced at 10:30am and ended at 3pm as planned. There were teams of eager doctors as well as assistants on deck to help with the screening. There were other teams consisting of Doctors, nurses and other medical staff, who counselled the women based on their results and helped with the necessary referrals for further management.
After the screening, about 10 women ranging from 27- 56 years tested positive for cervical cancer and were referred to appropriate treatment centres in Abia and Lagos for re-screening and treatment- which will be based on the stage of the disease.
Other cervical anomalies discovered included cervical polyps and vaginal prolapse, as well as symptoms indicative of cervical diseases. These included cases of vaginal bleeding and foul-smelling discharge, both of which occurred with weight loss. All these women were referred to tertiary health institutions close to them for follow-up and treatment.
With over 400 women personally screened by us and over 1000 screened and vaccinated by our partners all over Nigeria, the entire outreach was a success. The project has created a ripple effect of health awareness all through the country and beyond.
We thank our amazing volunteers who contributed in all the ways possible to bring our plans to fruition.
The entire S.M.I.L.E team was duly commended by the community leaders and the management and staff of both the Iwaya and Aba South Primary Health Centres and there are plans in motion to collaborate with them permanently. sdpriority29 \l
We are very grateful to our sponsors whose tremendous support and commitment led to the success of the project. These include our major sponsors: Ark by Cregital, Ayuna health group, Diet234, My medicines, GAMAC Foundation. Our Partners in kind: DKT Nigeria, Tectarii, Zobo Land, Firmcare diagnostics, Hello care, Bey Health, MMDOC, 316 Volunteers, Project Pink Blue, Ouimspire, Drug Medics.
Also our media partners: Doctor’s Magazine, Healthline on radio, PlusTV Africa, Doctor’s Quarters.
The S.M.I.L.E with me foundation is committed to raising health awareness in Nigeria and Africa, and it will continue to do so through outreaches like these and through social media. For more information, you can reach us on any of our social media handles.