LEAH Foundation, an Ilorin-based non-governmental organisation with focus on the eradication of cancer in women, has been admitted into the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
In a letter dated, March 24 and signed by Cary Adams, Chief Executive Officer of the UICC, the union, which is the largest cancer fighting organisation in the world, with a network of more than 900 members in 155 affiliate countries, expressed its delight to have the LEAH Foundation on board.
Adams further stated in the letter that: “We enter 2016 with strong foundations following the inclusion of a Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) reduction target in the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which marks a new era of international development and an opportunity for us to grasp together with our members.”
Executive Director of the LEAH Foundation, Lanre Bello said gaining membership of the globally recognized cancer-fighting organization was a result of the work that the NGO has been doing in raising awareness about breast and cervical cancer, through the LEAH Cancer Project.
He said the trustees and management of the foundation were excited at the information of its acceptance into the UICC and promised that the foundation, which has would double its effort at seeing that women, in its area of operation are saved from the cancer first through voluntary screening and treatment of identified cases.
He said that the foundation has established about 30 screening centres all over the state with the aim of giving access to people in the rural areas. “We have also started enlightenment and peer groups in secondary schools as well as some of the tertiary institutions in the country. Our aim is to remove the veil of ignorance covering the cervical and breast cancer by providing information. These are highest killers of women and we want our women to know that.
Bello informed further that the organization was working towards a hospital facility totally dedicated to the treatment of cancer although “we have worked with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and the Sobi Specialist Hospital to treat patients in the past couple of years” He reiterated the organization’s readiness to collaborate with other bodies with identical mission towards the reduction of the cancer burden in the country.
The UICC brings together cancer leagues and societies; research institutes; treatment centres, hospitals, scientific and professional societies; ministries of health, public health agencies; and patient support organizations to shape cancer control on a global scale. Its main objective is to unite the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equity, and to integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda..
Also, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) recently granted LEAH Foundation “Special Consultative Status”.
By granting consultative status to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as LEAH Foundation, ECOSOC creates avenues to participate in formal UN deliberations. Organizations with consultative status can designate official representatives to the UN Headquarters in New York, as well as the UN offices in Geneva and Vienna. They can also designate representatives to participate as observers in public meetings of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as the General Assembly, Human Rights Council and other decision-making bodies.
Currently, there are only a handful of NGO’s in Nigeria with consultative status at the United Nations.