I had just returned from the School Health Education Empowerment Tour at Morit International School, Ajegunle, Lagos, Nigeria, organized by us at Smile with me Foundation and my phone was beeping non-stop while i allowed it stay glued, deep down in my handbag to prevent unnecessary phone loss stories.
Finally, I got home and got the phone out to see what the ‘buzz’ was about. Alas! 8 of 10 direct messages asked, “Marietta, how can I Volunteer too? Why do you volunteer anyway?”. I laughed to myself at thought of what must have gone through the minds of the people who asked the latter question- “This lady must be crazy, giving services for free in this ‘harsh’ Nigerian economy?”. Thanks to them though, this post was overdue!
Volunteering simply means freely offering to do something or work for an organization without getting paid. It involves contributing meaningfully, in some cases, while working with other individuals, to make communities better. The business times puts the value of a volunteer’s work to be just above $20 per hour. In reality, ‘A good Volunteer is priceless’ and no price tag can effectively reward work done. Moreso, payment comes in other very satisfying ways for an informed volunteer.
School Health Education Empowerment Scheme (S.H.E.E.T.) is an initiative of SMILE With Me Foundation to empower students and children of school age through improving health literacy. We aim to inspire a healthier Africa, one student at a time.
The World Health Organization promotes school health programs as a strategic means to prevent important health risks among children and adolescents to engage the education sector in efforts to change the behaviour that impact health. There is a gap in the flow of information concerning health in Nigeria and one of the major ways to combat this is to begin at a young age to disseminate information.
One of the ways we intend to do this is by maximizing S.H.E.E.T. to ensure the provision of health education and promotion as well as the provision of health aids to students and schools.
We also include teachers and caregivers in these schools by carrying out screening for non-communicable diseases via blood pressure and random blood checks. We also give them proper education on the right in-school health practices, first aid techniques as well as the availability of a well-equipped school clinic.
As the S.H.E.E.T. tour progresses, we intend to vaccinate and carry out further health screenings for the students with the consent of their parents and other relevant authority. This project is comprehensive, intended to cut across major aspects of health care.
SMILE With Me Foundation’s S.H.E.E.T. tour kicked off in Lagos on June 13, 2019, at Government Junior Model College, Ikorodu. Our volunteers, along with our founder, Dr Chioma Nwakanma were received by the principal and members of staff of the school and the program commenced at 12 noon with health education.
There were various classes for the students highlighting different health issues. A live-action class providing students with practical ways to administer first aid was carried out by Mr Lola of AID services.
A session on the vaccination, citing its importance, was led by Dr Chioma Nwakanma. Nurse Aramiposi taught tthe students handwashing techniques.
Abeke Lawal led a session on mental health, teaching the students about feelings and emotions in relation to their health while drug abuse was dissected by Pharm. Dotun Adegbite.
Menstrual hygiene was also discussed by Dr Chisom Nweke while a practical class on dental hygiene was taken on by Dr Henrietta. S.M.I.L.E with Me Foundation gave dental aids (toothbrushes and toothpaste) to the students.
Dr Collins Akanno and Funbi Oyewole of Diet234, a top clinical nutrition company in Nigeria taught the students the importance of a nutritional diet.
All sessions in S.H.E.E.T. were highly interactive, as a total of 900 students were involved in discussions and asked questions too. The most interactive students were given prizes, refreshment was distributed and a first aid kit donated to the school to assist with first aid provision for the students.
The next school impacted in Lagos was Morit International School, Ajegunle. Situated in one of the most populous rural areas in Lagos, this primary school is known for accepting plastic in lieu of school fees. This is an ingenious way of providing affordable education as well as cleaning and sustaining our environment. S.H.E.E.T at Morit International School took place on June 20, 2019.
The SMILE With Me Foundation team was given a warm reception by the members of staff and the programme kicked off at 11 a.m. with an in-depth class on hand washing techniques by Dr Mariam Toye.
Dr Ifeanyi Urakpa took a class on first aid with the students. A practical session on basic dental hygiene was handled by Dr Henrietta. A mental health class was carried out by Abeke Lawal while Dr Chisom Nweke led a session on child abuse.
In commemoration of World Sickle Cell Day, which was on the same day, the pupils were enlightened about the condition as well as a catchy, creative song highlighting genotype.
After sessions were done, with over 200 pupils in attendance, the teachers were given free blood pressure checks and the most interactive pupils were rewarded with prizes.
SMILE With Me Foundation donated cartons of antibacterial soap and a first aid box to equip them to maintain hygiene and deal with simple emergencies.
The S.H.E.E.T tour by S.M.I.L.E. With Me Foundation has also kicked off in Abia state and we intend to take this all over the country, one school at a time. Our goal is to work with schools to create a health-conscious and foster a well-informed generation.
Would you like to join us at S.M.I.L.E With Me Foundation?
Most adults spend a substantial portion of their waking hours at their place of work. Unfortunately, modern workplaces frequently contribute to ill health: desk jobs lead to physical inactivity, workplace stress can lead to poor sleep and poor dietary choices, cigarette smoking rates remain dangerously high, and a number of other factors can combine to put workers’ health at risk.
The good news is that workplaces also present a valuable opportunity for health promotion: scientific studies show that when done right, workplace health promotion and disease prevention programs can improve the health of employees, reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity, and produce a positive return-on-investment (ROI), resulting in a win-win for employees and employers
BENEFITS OF WORKPLACE WELLNESS
• Improved Productivity
• Lower Healthcare Cost
• Sense of Accomplishment
• Improved Physical Fitness
• Weight Loss
• Stress Reduction
• Healthier Habits
WORKPLACE WELLNESS A WIN-WIN
Implementing a workplace wellness program is a win-win for both employers and employees. Employee health and well- being has a direct impact on the health of the organization, including the bottom line.
It’s been shown that businesses with workplace wellness programs often experience increased employee morale and productivity. Meanwhile absenteeism, and the costs associated with sick and disability leave, decline.
A comprehensive wellness program can also attract, engage and retain top talent to your organization.
A workplace wellness program reflects an organization’s commitment to helping their employees make healthy lifestyle choices and improve their health. This can include providing tools and information about health-related topics as well as establishing company policies that encourage and support healthy choices, such as guidelines for healthy snacks at meetings.
WALKING THE WALK
The most successful workplace wellness programs are those embraced at the highest levels in the organization. When senior management recognize the benefits of a healthy workplace to both the business and the employees they are more likely to get behind the idea with time and resources. By visibly showing their commitment and walking the walk, senior management influence and increase buy-in and participation of employees.
CREATIVE, NOT COSTLY
Wellness programs don’t need to be expensive.
A little creativity can go a long way.
Inexpensive incentive prizes, like gift cards for friendly wellness-based competition, or even just bragging rights on the company intranet or newsletter can keep employees interested, participating and having fun.
That same newsletter is the perfect space for some information about healthy eating or other wellness tips. Adding a physical activity or healthy food choice to staff events and social activities is another simple way to enhance a workplace wellness program.
He woke up to the sound of his alarm as he does every morning. It was 5am sharp but to his surprise he felt different; he could barely lift his hand. He thought, what could be happening? Did I sleep wrong? He finally made it to the bathroom but almost fell, as he was quite clumsy, something he also noticed that morning but paid no attention to.
Thank God! There was a clinic at his work place, he thought. He drove past his office complex, straight to the staff clinic, and got there at 8:40am after overcoming the Lagos transient ‘morning gridlock’ and poured out his worries on the doctor who listened patiently, asked more questions and examined him. His plan was to get this over with, take a few tablets and get inside his office to begin work at 9am.
Meanwhile, His Blood pressure (BP) was 210/100 mmHg and there was only one possibility- a stroke was imminent and he needed urgent care.
Mr. G was only 42 years old with a great job, a beautiful, charismatic wife and 3 lovely children but he had never felt the need to check his blood pressure and as most of us would think. He said, “What? Haba, doctor! BP high ke, I’m not that old now, don’t you think its typhoid or malaria or that I’m just over stressing myself?”
The Doctor replied, “It isn’t typhoid. We should be happy that you are still walking and breathing. To put it plainly, it’s a miracle that you drove yourself here. You could have died in your sleep, or had a stroke on your way, so, I have to admit you and get those numbers down. “
Mr G’s wife rushed over to the clinic, two hours after he called saying he was admitted for observation. She immediately started praying loudly, saying repeatedly, “Stroke cannot be for my husband”.
Mr G had hypertension and never knew his numbers till danger came knocking on the door. Yes, Mr G got better, God answered the prayers but he learnt the hard way. The doctor made sure his wife didn’t leave without a BP check and quick examination telling her that ‘Prayer without works is dead!’
We all act like Mr G sometimes. We wait for crisis before taking action. He was lucky but someone else may not be, hence, the need for awareness and action
According to the new guidelines by the American Heart Association (AHA) in 2017, Hypertension is persistently high blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg and above.
For those of us that remember fraction in primary school, it’s just the way it’s written. The top value is known as your systolic blood pressure – which is the higher limit of pressure reached when your heart contracts, while the denominator is the diastolic blood pressure, the lowest pressure in the between heartbeats.
In simple terms, high blood pressure is raised force of blood pushing against the walls of the vessels. This makes the heart have to pump harder and do more work.
What makes it more deadly is the fact that it just creeps in on us, with no symptoms initially, until it starts damaging the body organs from brain, to the heart, kidneys, eyes and more, causing stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and in some cases, blurred vision or complete vision loss.
In 2018, PubMed brought to our notice that, of the 160 million people in Nigeria, over 46 million are hypertensive. The story gets even more depressing as some studies reveal that our new adoptions of unhealthy eating and drinking habits and stressful routines as we see in mega cities like Lagos, puts a lot more at risk. An overwhelming number of Nigerians still wake up to high blood pressure daily.
I agree with you, ‘God forbid’, but the truth is, it may come as a surprise because some never made effort to know their numbers, some cannot even afford to, others don’t even care at all hence many remain in the dark as regards knowing if they are at risk or need to make adjustments to their lifestyle.
What can you do? I know you’re thinking, “What can I do? I’m 30 and rocking life”. Yes, great! But, it is you I’m actually talking to, even if you are just 25 years old. Early detection is good, but prevention is best. We can start by knowing the risk factors. They include;
The conversation around menstruation is usually in hushed tones. We usually say ‘I’m on’, ‘The red visitor is here’. While seemingly cute, these expressions often come from a place of misplaced chastity and the thought that periods are somewhat sacred. Menstrual hygiene day was recently commemorated on May 28, as it is annually, with the vision to break the silence, raise awareness and change societal norms surrounding menstrual hygiene management around the world.
These beliefs could be a genuine source of castigation and harm, as in Ghana where girls were banned from crossing a river they needed to cross to get to at the request of the river god and in India where a girl committed suicide due to ‘menstruation shame.’ Hence, it is imperative to clear the air.
As children, certain practices and beliefs about periods were passed down to us- voluntarily or otherwise. Some of them, like the idea that sharks are attracted to women on their periods, are hilarious. However, some, like in Iran where, according to UNICEF, 48% of girls still believe that periods are a disease or in certain parts of Nepal where the chapaudi practice keeps females are literally kept in isolation during menstruation.
Conversations and education centred around this regular physiological process could be the key to eliminating the stigma associated with periods. So, are these myths true or false? Keep reading!
When she was first diagnosed with GLAUCOMA, it hit her hard. She thought “Oh no, it cannot happen to me, I’m too young for this, why me?” She was so distressed she didn’t know anything about this THIEF OF SIGHT called GLAUCOMA, all she knew was that she could go BLIND.
She said “I’m quite an independent lady and I would hate to be dependent on anyone cos of blindness”.
The thought was very scary, it would be so for anyone.
Now back to you, yes you reading this now;
• Do you know there is an eye disease called GLAUCOMA (related to high eye pressure which can damage the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain).
• Do you know that GLAUCOMA can steal your sight?
• Do you know that initially you might not notice any symptoms, not even pain. You may even bump into things because you’re loosing the outer edge of your vision?
•Do you know that u have a high chance of developing GLAUCOMA if you have parents, siblings, or grandparents living with glaucoma?
•If you have GLAUCOMA, encourage your family to be checked for GLAUCOMA to prevent your loved ones from going blind.
REMEMBER YOU MAY LOOSE YOUR SIGHT, AND YOU’LL BE UNABLE TO GET IT BACK!!!
Have eye issues? Please report to the nearest eye clinic to be examined. Prevention is always better than cure. In this case there is none.
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
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
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
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.
About 14,943 new cases are diagnosed annually (estimates for 2018).
Ranks as the 2nd leading cause of female cancer.
2nd most common female cancer in women aged 15 to 44 years.
Women at risk: (Female population aged >=15 years) 53.1 million.
Here’s a list of six facts you need to know about cervical cancer:
1. HPV is the #1 cause of cervical cancer.
To find a cure, it’s vital to know the causes. Most cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another through sexual activity. Both men and women can be infected with HPV. It can be present for years without causing any symptoms and can be passed on to others without knowing. Learn more about cancers.
The Centers for Diseases Control reports more than 20 million people are currently infected with HPV worldwide and another 6.2 million will contract the virus each year. HPV has also been linked to other cancers including cancer of the throat, penis, anus, vulva and vagina.
2. Most cervical cancer cases are preventable.
Because cervical cancer is typically caused by HPV, the simplest way to prevent cervical cancer is to prevent HPV infection in the first place. Since 2006, a highly effective HPV vaccination has been used. Just like other vaccines, the HPV vaccine helps your immune system create an antibody response that protects your body against the infection. This vaccination is administered in two or three shots over a six-month period to both males and females between the ages of 9-26.
Routine Pap testing is the best way to detect abnormal changes to the cervix before they develop into cancer. Much like removing polyps to prevent colon cancer, treating these abnormal cells can help prevent cervical cancer from forming. More than half of the women in the United States who get cervical cancer have never had or rarely had a Pap test. The Pap test can also identify cervical cancer early – when it is in its most curable stage.
3. Only certain strains of HPV cause cancer.
HPV is serious – but not always a cancer indicator. HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses. Most men and women who have ever had sex will get HPV at some time in their lives. And while there are strains that can cause cervical cancer and make it the top cause of the disease, as mentioned above, most HPV infections go away without treatment and are not linked to cancer.
4. Smoking and other factors increase the risk of cervical cancer.
Women who smoke are about twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer. Smoking weakens your immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight HPV infections on its own.
There is also evidence that long-term use of oral contraceptives as well as being overweight increases the risk of cervical cancer.
Women with a sister or mother who had cervical cancer are two to three times more likely to develop the disease. Talk to your doctor if you have a family history of cervical cancer.
5. There are warning signs, but not early warning signs.
Cervical cancer often presents no symptoms in its early stages, which is why it is often referred to as a “silent killer.” But as the disease progresses, warning signs may present themselves. Examples include pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, painful urination, unusual discharge, abnormal menstrual cycles, pain or bleeding after sex, anaemia, urinary incontinence, and back pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.
6. Genomics research helps us attack cervical cancer – and all types of cancer.
NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics and away from the old “location-based” research approaches.
Sebeccly Cancer Care ⠀ NUT House. 29 Commercial Avenue, Sabo, Yaba⠀ Screening Test: VIA Call 08170272543⠀ Colposcopy and Cryotherapy treatment available. . ⠀ Arrive Alive Diagnostics and Imaging⠀ 35 Cole Street off (Same road as Diamond Bank)⠀ Ojuelegba⠀ 08091838811⠀ Pap Test .⠀ Foremost Radiology⠀ 50 Ogunlana Drive, Surulere⠀ 08062392299⠀ Pap Test⠀ N8000⠀ .⠀ Lakeshore Cancer Center⠀ 14 Amodu Tijani Close, Victoria Island.⠀ 08034175046⠀ Liquid Based Cytology .HPV vaccination available.⠀ .⠀ Optimal Cancer Care⠀ 118 Bode Thomas Street Surulere⠀ 08081076646⠀ Screening Test: VIA⠀ N2500 (Monday to Thursday). Free on Fridays throughout January.⠀ .⠀ The Bridge Clinic (MediCentre)⠀ 66 Oduduwa Way, GRA Ikeja⠀ 09068350060⠀ Liquid Based Cytology: N25000⠀ HPV Vaccination and HPV Testing⠀ .⠀ Well Woman Clinic⠀ 2nd Floor Surgical Outpatient⠀ Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH)⠀ Idi-Araba, Clinic Hours: 9a.m – 1p.m⠀ Screening Test: Pap Test⠀ Cost: N4250⠀ HPV Vaccination available⠀ .⠀ Medicheck⠀ 46 Oduduwa Crescent GRA Ikeja⠀ 08189804994⠀ Pap Test⠀ Cost: N10000 ⠀ .⠀ Help Diagnostics (Maryland & Ikorodu)⠀ Behind Mobil Filling Station, Maryland.⠀ 09090146050, 08187151810⠀ Pap Test⠀ Cost: N10000⠀ .⠀ The Specialist Laboratories ⠀ 6, Sodipo St Off Mabo Street⠀ Surulere⠀ 08025789286⠀ Screening Tests⠀ Pap Test. HPV DNA Testing⠀ .⠀ Mecure Lekki and Oshodi⠀ 07000632873⠀ Pap Test⠀ N8000⠀
Abia: Hopkins Diagnostics, opp Crunchies Bata, Aba, Abia State (Mention SMILE with me initiative for a discount)
Chees specialist Clinic 90-pound road Aba( Mention SMILE with me for a discount)
Abuja:⠀ Firmcare Laboratories⠀ Suite A3/A4, Tswanya Centre,⠀ Muhammadu Buhari Way,⠀ Area 11 Garki 08081499391⠀ January offer: (Mention Smile with me foundation when booking) Pap Test: 30% off Liquid Based Cytology:N30% off HPV Testing: 20% off . ⠀ MedicAid 2, Libreville Street,Off Aminu Kano Cres.⠀ Wuse 2, Abuja⠀ 0708744634, 07030044300⠀ Screening Tests: VIA Pap Test: HPV Vaccination⠀ .⠀ Ibadan:⠀ Family Specialist Hospital, 15 b Water Reservoir Road, Oluwonla Area, (beside Oluwonla Police Station) Bashorun. 08097763300
Family Specialist Hospital, 13, General Gas Road. Akobo, Ibadan. Pap Smear
ABC Foundation ⠀ Block 1 plot 4, Ibadan Municipal Government,⠀ off Adeoyo State hospital. Ring Road.⠀ VIA (Visual Inspection with acetic acid): N1000 HPV testing: N10000⠀ 07010368526⠀ . ⠀ MECURE IBADAN⠀ 5, Awosika Avenue, Old Bodija.⠀ 07066615139⠀ Pap Test⠀ .⠀ Kaduna:⠀ ECHO Scan⠀ 4, Katsina Road, by Independence Way.⠀ 08023098373⠀ Pap Test: N8000⠀ .⠀ Kano:⠀ MECURE ⠀ 8, Post Office Road (Opposite MoH) Kano. ⠀ 07088650983⠀ Pap Test⠀ .⠀ Jos:⠀ Meena Histopathology Lab⠀ Constitution Hill Rd, Close to Christian Pilgrims board. Jos⠀ 08091555722⠀ Pap Test: N5000⠀ .⠀ Port-Harcourt:⠀ Hugo Health Systems⠀ 82 Peter Odili Road⠀ 08037908623, 09052339306⠀ Pap Test: N10000⠀ HPV Testing and Vaccination available(Mention CancerAware when booking) .⠀ Benin City:⠀ ECHO Scan. 08055666943⠀ Pap Test⠀ .⠀ Central Hospital Benin Pap Test⠀ .⠀ University of Benin Teaching Hospital⠀ Pap Test ⠀ .⠀ Oghara⠀ ECHO Scan 08023342566⠀ Pap Test⠀ .⠀ Umuahia⠀ MECURE Opp Federal Medical Center,⠀ Aba – Oweri Road,⠀ 07088646026 ⠀ Pap Test⠀ .⠀ Asaba:⠀ ECHO Scan⠀ Penny Mart Estate⠀ 272/273 Nnebisi Road⠀ Opp. First Bank, Beside FCMB⠀ 08036185481. . Federal Medical Centre Asaba Pap Test . Aba:⠀ MECURE⠀ Abia State University Teaching Hospital⠀ Ahiaba Umeze Road⠀ 07006328732⠀ Pap Test ⠀ .⠀ Kwara:⠀ Leah Foundation HQ⠀ Abdulkareem Adisa, GRA,⠀ Ilorin ⠀ 09080066337⠀ VIA: N2000⠀ Cryotherapy, Colposcopy and HPV Vaccination available⠀ .⠀ KAAF Foundation⠀ IPERU (Near Babcock Uni) OGUN STATE⠀ KAAF Building.⠀ Iperu. ⠀ VIA. Free every 3rd week of the month.⠀ Thursday – Saturday. 08132354647.⠀
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