In keeping with the vision of enhancing the health and education of the girl-child, the Rotary Club of Ikoyi, Lagos State has embarked on the vaccination of the girl-child against the deadly Human Papilomavirus (HPV) otherwise known as cervical cancer.
The club has also continued with her innovative Star Project of distribution of sanitary pads to female students across Lagos schools.
The Rotary Club was at Wahab Folawiyo Junior Secondary School, Osbone Road, Ikoyi, Lagos on Thursday, January 20, 2022, where hundreds of female students received the second jab marking the complete dose of the HPV vaccine.
Speaking to the media on the significance of the second dose of the vaccine, Rotarian (Dr.) Uche Obienu, President, Rotary Club of Ikoyi, stated that by the second dose of the vaccine, the girls are protected from suffering the effect of cervical cancer. “We are here today for a double project, one is Human Papilomavirus (HPV) vaccination against cervical cancer, today they are taking the second dose of the vaccine, it is an honour to be part of this great life saving of the girl child, because once they receive this second dose against this cervical cancer, they will not, by the grace of God, suffer the effect of cervical cancer, which means they have been protected.”
Obienu disclosed that the project was a partnership between the Rotary Club of Ikoyi and Rotary District 9110.
On the Star Project of distribution of sanitary pads, Obienu said over 1000 female students will received the pad to take care of their menstrual cycle “Immediately after the vaccination, we are going into our Star Project for this Rotary Year which is the distribution of Sanitary Pad for good one year. This year we distribute to close to 1000 girls every month, to take care of their monthly cycle.
He spoke on the importance of the exercise, “It was part of our agenda this year because the girl-child is a very critical area of focus in this Rotary year, so we centred our Star Project by making sure they don’t go out of school during their menstrual cycle, the one we call period, so we make sure they receive the sanitary pad they will use for the month. It may interest you to know that some of these girls don’t go to school during their monthly cycle because they don’t have the resources, the availability of sanitary pad or sanitary towel, some of them use unhygienic materials like cottons, tissue papers, foam, some of them even cut their mothers’ old wrapper, and some of them don’t even use anything, you see them bleeding on their bodies during their menstrual cycle.”
He added that with the collaboration of their partners, the Rotary Club of Ikoyi has gotten enough sanitary pads for the Rotary year “So we will continue to distribute sanitary pads to these girls every month, that is what we have vowed to do and by the grace of God, we are not relenting, knowing that with collaboration of our partners both you the media and other donors, we have been able to get enough pads that will last in the cause of this project.”
Human Papilomavirus is a viral infection that is passed between people through skin-to-contact, it is passed through sexual contact and it can affect the genitals, mouth, or throat
He said Cervical cancer, apart from breast cancer, is the next killer of women. So for us as a club, and as a district and with our foreign partners, in fact it may interest you to know that some African countries are not even aware, have not even started this vaccination, but Nigeria, most especially District 9110 has the vision and said let us do this, individually these girls may not be able to afford it but we are given it to them free of charge. What does it mean, it means that Rotary finished with polio which you are aware we have eradicated in Nigeria, we are now facing cervical cancer when it concerns the girl child. So that is the truth of the whole matter.”
He said the ministry of health is aware of the vaccination, “Of course you cannot do such a gigantic project without the ministry of health, Lagos State Government, and SUBEB, that is people in charge of education. It may interest you also that it is not just Lagos State, Rotary District 9110 covers Lagos and Ogun States, this project is also going on in Ogun State.
Trying to uantify the monetary worth of the vaccine, Obienu said “Remember we are giving it to them free of charge, each dosage of the vaccine cost around 20 to N25000 even at a subsidized, so you can imagine what Rotary is doing. And we are giving two doses because that is what make a complete vaccine, so what does it mean, it means that Rotary is turning over N50,000 on each of the girls and they are not paying a kobo for it, this means we are running into multi-millions if not billions. So times over 2000 students being targeted with N50,000, that is a lot of money,” he said.
Rotarian Adenike Aroloye, the Project Director for the Ikoyi Rotary Club said “We are looking at over 2000 girls between the age of nine and 13 and in this School, when we had the first dose, we had 151 girls, so today we are administering the second dose.”
Speaking on the cause of cervical cancer, she said “essentially caused by having multiple sexual partners, but you know in cancer, that is what we hear, but cancer is the mutation of cells, no one is really sure of the actual cause of cancer, what we hear is if you have multiple partners, it could lead to it.”
Sylvia Moraa Mochabo, from Kenya Nairobi, “I am from the Rotary Club of Motaiga, and I am currently reigning as Miss United Nation, Miss Africa Elite 2022 and the Queen of Africa 2022. She was also at the School to encourage the young girls to keep themselves clean and hygienic.