By Kenneth Jukpor
As part of efforts to mark its 20th anniversary, the Virtuous Women Tuesday Fellowship, a non-governmental organization (NGO), organized a free medical examination exercise for over 100 women in Apapa, Lagos, last week.
The Group also called for improved awareness on women’s health and education in order to preserve their lives and help them better cater for their families.
Speaking with journalists at the ceremony in Apapa, the National Coordinator, Mrs. Nancy Ogboi, lamented that there wasn’t enough awareness and advocacy on women’s health.
“Most women suffer in silence; hence, there is need for us to be more deliberate on health issues around women and the need to be proactive about having a healthy nation by making sure our women are well taken care of.
“The health of women cannot be overemphasized, as they are the engine room of the family and their health is a determinant on the health of the nation. We need healthy women who will take care of the families and we demand greater attention to the advocacy on women’s health”, she said.
Ogboi noted that the reason for the advocacy was because early detection of diseases saves cost and allows people to follow up on their health challenges and address them.
One of the founding members of the fellowship, Mrs. Folake St. Matthew Daniels, expressed satisfaction that the fellowship has been able to impact lives in many ways since inception.
“We decided that as part of activities to mark our 20th anniversary, we should have a health outreach so that people in the neighbourhood could benefit from it. A lot of people take health issues for granted and most people don’t even know what their blood pressure is”
“Several people are walking around with High Blood Pressure (HBP), High Blood Sugar, among other issues but there aren’t aware and ordinarily these people hardly consider it important to go for health checkups. So this forum avails a lot of people the opportunity of having their health status checked” she said.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Coordinator, Mrs. Folashade Alli, urged the populace to do away with the erroneous notion that they should not spend their hard earned money on health care.
She said: “We need to tell our people more on the need for early detection of diseases and ailments. The news should be spread because people are having wrong notion about health check-ups.
“I think the major problem is poverty, which we seek to address. The poverty level in Nigeria is so alarming that many people resort to self-medication. Every home now has a doctor to itself, but this is not working. Check-up is necessary. Because poverty is striking people in the face does not mean we should fail to take care” Folashade said.
She also commended notable female personalities in governance and other amazons that assisted the Fellowship in organizing the programme.
“We have had great women sponsoring us for this outreach. From Lagos State Ministry of Health, courtesy of the Permanent Secretary, Dr. (Mrs.) Femi Taiwo has assisted. Dr. (Mrs.) Omowunmi Ayo Badejo from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) sent a medical team to help with dental care; so really God has been faithful to the fellowship and we have decided to always give back to the society through programmes like this. This is reaching out to the less privileged to help them become better aware of their health and enable them deal with emergencies” she added.
One of the beneficiaries of the health check-up, Mrs. Stella Agee said; “A friend introduced me to this fellowship and since I started coming I have been enjoying the experience. Today I have benefitted from the free health check-up for blood sugar, blood pressure and breast cancer.
“I have also learnt how to attend to a person who suffers a cardiac arrest or heart attack. I wouldn’t have been privileged to learn all these without this programme and I want to specially thank the organizers for the opportunity” she added.