Rotary Club Targets N220m to Vaccinate 10,000 Girls against Cervical Cancer

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Uchechukwu Nnaike

Considering the frequency and devastating effect of cervical cancer, the Rotary International, District 9110 has concluded plans to prevent the ailment among girls in Lagos and Ogun States by sponsoring the vaccination of 10,000 girls from 10-14 years, as part of its humanitarian project for the 2019-2020 Rotary Year.

Briefing journalists in Lagos, new District Governor, Dr. Jide Akeredolu, said the club would also sponsor the surgery of children with congenital heart diseases and also reduce extreme poverty among the people of the two states.

He described cervical cancer as the second most common cancer among women, adding that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 40 women are diagnosed everyday, while 26 women die everyday from the disease.

“That translates into one cervical cancer death every 55 minutes. Cervical cancer is unique because it is a cancer that is completely preventable by vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus,” he said.

He however noted that the country had not laid emphasis on the vaccination probably because it is expensive, as it will cost N22,000 per girl and the double shots will be for a life time. So the club will need N220 million for cervical cancer prevention alone.

Thus, Akeredolu said at his installation ceremony on July 6, at the MUSON Centre, Lagos, funds would be raised to enable the club complete the projects, adding that the district under his watch would mobilise funds from volunteers within and outside the Rotary Club.

While stressing the importance of the other projects, he said congenital heart disease has continued to claim the lives of many children, especially those from indigent families that cannot afford the cost of open heart surgery, adding that a significant proportion of funds raised during his tenure would be devoted to addressing the needs of people living in extreme poverty through empowerment programmes, using the existing Rotary Vocational Training Centre in Igbogbo, Ikorodu as a pool from where beneficiaries would be sourced.

These, he said will be in fulfillment of Rotary’s commitment to giving hope to the vulnerable people around the world.

“We hope to achieve a lot through medical missions in driving the congenital heart disease project,” he said, adding that each mission is open for sponsorship for $1,000.

Akeredolu stated that as part of its fund raising initiative, the district has launched a ‘One Million Dollars Challenge’, which gives Rotarians and their friends the opportunity of winning a brand new saloon car and other attractive prizes by donating to the Rotary Foundation, the arm of Rotary which collects and manages voluntary donations from around the world. Districts and clubs across the world access funds of the foundation to implement impactful projects around the world.

Some of the dignitaries expected at the official installation ceremony include Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Dr. Reuben Abati and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.