Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Thursday said his administration was ready to partner with non-governmental organisations to enhance the fight against breast cancer.
Ambode gave the assurance when he received members of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) led by the Wife of Ondo Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, at Lagos House, Ikeja.
The visit was to invite the state government to the official launch of BRECAN, Lagos State Chapter, on Friday.
”I decided to identify with this initiative not because you are the First Lady of Ondo State but because you are the President of the laudable association.
”You have been a victim, survivor and now a preacher to save other women from breast cancer.
“I appreciate that you are also passing the message that breast cancer is not a death sentence and that Nigerians need to be aware.
”Twenty years after surviving this cancer, you did not keep it to yourself; you are using your position as first lady to propagate this message to save more people,’’ Ambode said.
He said that Lagos State Government would be a strong partner of the initiative to enable liberation of many people from the cultural myths surrounding breast cancer.
Ambode said that Lagos State Ministry of Health had been organising enlightenment programmes and medical outreaches to reduce the burden of cancer.
According to him, partnership with NGOs is essential to reach out and save more people from cancer.
”What we do in the Ministry of Health regarding breast cancer is never enough; we need more awareness and advocacy especially at the grassroots.
“We need NGOs like yours to complement government’s efforts.
”We do not want to continue to lose our people to cancer because when there is good health, there is hope.
”The state government will support the group financially and otherwise because we believe in your cause,” Ambode said.
Earlier, Anyanwu-Akeredolu called for collaboration between governments and NGOs to reduce cancer burden.
“Many cancer cases in Nigeria reach advanced stage before being brought to medical attention.
”Breast cancer progresses with time, and if you detect it early, your chances of survival are greatly enhanced.
”Early detection and presentation are key; present cases early at the hospital for proper diagnosis, treatment and management, ” she said.
Our correspondent reports that Anyanwu-Akeredolu set up BRECAN in 1997.