Carrot, daucus carota, is a well-known household vegetable. Carrot is native to Eurasia and northern Africa. It belongs to the umbelliferae family of plants, and grows up to 80cm high, with tiny leaves.
How to apply carrot therapy
• Grated carrot: Simply cut some carrots into shreds and add to salad or add to your meal. Alternatively, you can simply chew the carrot. This is the most convenient way as it does not require any preparation.
• Beauty cream: To make carrot beauty cream blend five carrots with a bottle of honey. Rub it on the face or body at night and leave it overnight. Wash it off in the morning. Do this every night for at least two months. You will be amazed at the transformation it will bring to your skin.
You want a youthful and healthy skin? You want your skin to take on a youthful glow and radiate beauty and health? Then make friend with carrot. It is not an accident that carrot is so easily available everywhere in our society. It is true, and I agree, that one’s state of mind matters a lot when it comes to physical appearance.
Nevertheless, it is also true, as scientific evidence testifies, that carrot makes the skin healthy and youthful. Do you suffer from skin dryness, wrinkles, atrophy or acne? Then make friend with carrot and you will see the difference. Carrot not only helps the skin but also strengthens the nails and hair and gives them a natural look. Such is the beauty enhancing qualities of carrot.
Carrot helps to prevent kidney stones and gall bladder stones. This it does by helping to balance mucosas, that is, the membranes that cover the interior of ducts and organ cavities. By strengthening the immune system, carrot helps to prevent sinusitis, cough and catarrh. Carrot also gives a quick relieve in cases of gastritis, ulcers and excess acidity.
Mothers should train their children to love carrot rather than coke or chocolate. As from six months onward, let your baby take carrot and watch to see the effect. It prevents diarrhoea and anaemia, stimulates growth, help tooth growth and beautiful skin. Sickle cell anaemia is still common in our society. But carrot is there to offer hope and solace. A sickle cell sufferer who takes carrot regularly can live a crisis-free life and grow up to ripe old-age. Carrot takes care of the complications associated with sickle-cell anaemia. Children who suffer from growth retardation and are so deficient that they can’t walk, or talk or play, will benefit from carrot.
Carrot helps to expel worms or parasites due to its essential oil. For this, it is recommended that you eat fresh, raw carrot or grated. Two carrots on empty stomach for a week is effective. Note, however, that carrot is very sensitive to light. Carotene, which is the main active component of carrot, loses a lot of its potency when exposed to light for long.
It is therefore recommended that you eat your grated carrot as soon as possible or better still, immediately. For diarrhoea and colitis, boiled or grated carrot will be beneficial due to the presence of pectin. Boiling does not harm carotene, its major ingredient, but exposure to light does. So feel free to boil carrot with your yam or rice and enjoy yourself naturally.
Carrot is invaluable in treating infertility. Drinking carrot juice is excellent for treating dysmenorhea [painful menstruation], ammernohea [premature menopause], annovulation [inability to ovulate] and hormonal imbalance.
Research has confirmed that carrot is one of the natural vegetables with anti-cancer properties. Carotene is said to react against cancer tumours and modulate the spread as well as strengthen the immune system to battle and overpower the cancer cells. I want you, dear reader, to spread this good news to your fellow brothers and sisters. Isn’t it great that God gave us an overabundance of carrot to strengthen our immunity? Yet, how many of us avail of these wonderful blessings? For those who suffer from cancer, I want to suggest that you blend some carrot and tomato together, as described in method 1 above. The only difference is that you add five tomatoes and blend all together. Take half a glass thrice daily for at least five months. Remember that cancer is not malaria. So, don’t expect a cure overnight. Allow nature to take its course.
PAN takes one egg per day campaign to schools
The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), on Wednesday, took its one egg per day campaign to government schools in Mararaba, Nasarawa State to sensitise children on the need to consume egg instead of snacks.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that more than 3,000 eggs were distributed to the students and pupils during the campaign.
This is coming against the backdrop of the world egg day marked on October 11.
Mr Lawson Okafor, the Chairman, PAN of the state chapter, called on the students to inform their parents on the need to give them one egg per day.
According to him, most parents are ignorant of the value of egg and instead they buy junks as snacks for them to eat.
He stated that egg was most valuable than meat pie, adding that parents should learn the significance of egg for their children in order to help them grow well.
Dr Boje Egboja, the PAN Coordinator, said that the distribution of eggs to the student was part of the activities to mark the world egg day.
She said that it was to tell the children the importance of egg in their system, adding that egg consumption would help their growth and also boost their immunity.
She added that it would also help to aid their intelligence quotient and save the children the hurdle of having to visit the hospital often, as it would improve their health status.
Also, Mr Peter Angbashim, the Principal of GSS, one of the schools, lauded the gesture, adding that egg consumption was imperative to the children’s growth.
He noted that though, the school was yet to benefit from the social intervention programme of the Federal Government through school feeding, he had no doubt that the school would soon benefit.
The principal said that the state was involved in the school feeding programme but it had been in batches and the school hoped to be part of the next batch.
Some of the students, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, lauded PAN, stating that such move would encourage them to consume egg.
Abdulqudus Sodiq, a primary six pupil, said that he had learnt that egg was valuable to health to aid their growth, keep them fresh and make them strong.
Also, according to one of the students, Gloria, egg contains some vital nutrients that can boost immunity.
Kwara NMA demands decriminalisation of suicide
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has called on the Federal Government to decriminalise suicide in the country.
The Deputy Chairman, Kwara NMA, Prof. Baba Issa, made the appeal at a news conference on Monday in Ilorin.
He said that anyone who attempted suicide obviously needed help, which was not gotten.
Issa was speaking in commemoration of the 2019 Physician’s week holding from October 12 to 19.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Care of the Unknown Patient: Policy Overview and Review”.
The event has other sub-themes like: “Curbing the Increasing Trend of Suicide in Nigeria: The Role of the NMA’’ and “The Doctor as an Entrepreneur”.
Issa noted that suicide was now the second leading cause of death among those in the age bracket of between 15 and 29 years with many unreported cases.
“And too bad, people are being jailed in Nigeria for attempting suicide.
“Any person who attempted suicide in the first place needed urgent help and would probably not have resulted to suicide if help was gotten.
“Also, government should regulate the distribution and availability of organophosphate chemicals that have recently become a cheap means of committing suicide,” Issa said.
He however said that parents and the media also have roles to play in curbing the increased trend.
“Responsible reportage of suicide is important to avoid copycat suicide as media should avoid sensationalising cases of suicide.
“The media should avoid details of methods and location and emphasising the negative consequences and impact on people left behind.
“And for the parents, they should avoid stigmatisation of suicide, instead encourage people to always seek help and support.
“Let us sacrifice time to know more about our children and wards, and learn to know their strength and weaknesses.
“We should also teach them self-esteem and vocation, and always take helpful cues from their non-verbal communication,” Issa said.
He further said that a person contemplating suicide should never be left alone at any point in time as the next few seconds without help might be too late.
Issa said there were organisations that help persons contemplating suicide with the following help lines: 09080217555, 09034400009, 08111909909, 07013811143, and Hausa – 08142241007.
Issa also listed Kwara State Health line challenges as 07062961307, 07030659980, 08033559293, 08035307683, 08165353198, 07032589606, 08034340230 and 08037211707.
Congo to start using Ebola vaccine November
Health authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo will introduce a Johnson & Johnson Ebola vaccine in November in the country’s eastern provinces, to counter the current outbreak, they said.
The J&J vaccine will complement another vaccine manufactured by Merck, which has been administered to more than 225,000 people. It requires two injections eight weeks apart, unlike the Merck vaccine, which requires a single shot.
A first batch of 500,000 doses of the J&J vaccine should arrive in Congo next week, the authorities said in a statement. The inoculation process will start in Goma in early November and then be extended to other provinces, reports Reuters.
Congolese health authorities had announced the deployment of the vaccine last month, but had not specified when the campaign will take place.
Since it first started in August 2018, the Ebola outbreak has killed more than 2,100 people, second only to the 2013-16 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300.
Poor funding limiting access to family planning
A major barrier to accessing family planning commodities in the country is the out-of-pocket cost of consumables, especially at the local government supported primary healthcare centres (PHCs). But increasing budget lines for family planning as well their timely release would make needed services more accessible. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports
Living in Nigeria with a growing population estimated at 198 million by the National Population Commission (NpopC), it is common to hear about advocacy groups promoting the use of family planning to curb the exponential population.
Such advocacies are usually hinged on curbing population growth, which experts said was growing beyond available resources; it is also geared to highlight numerous health benefits that are associated with adopting and using family planning.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines family planning as something that “allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods.”
For instance, pregnancies that are too early, too close, too late or too many carry extra hazards not only for the health of the woman but also for the child. Based on these benefits and more, advocates of family planning raise the current level of awareness in this regard, while speaking positively for the adoption and use of family planning.
The highlighted points above are some of the issues discussed at the World Contraceptive Day 2019 Media Dialogue on Family Planning in Lagos State, which was organised by Pathfinder International Nigeria.
The World Contraception Day is a worldwide campaign observed annually on September 26, with the aim to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
The media forum sought amongst other issues, to unpack the significance of contraception, drive conversation with key cross-sectoral stakeholders in the Adolesecent and Youth Sexual Reproductive Health (AYSRH) space with a view to securing more efficient funding for AYSRH in Lagos State.
Among family planning experts at the media dialogue were Senior Reproductive Health Officer at the Ministry of Health in Lagos State, Mrs Idowu Okanlawon; Rasheedat Umar who is the Youth Development Officer at the Ministry of Youth and Social Development in Lagos State; the Assistant Reproductive Health Programme Officer at the Primary Health Care Board (PHCB) in Lagos State, Dr. Abimbola Folami; Chairman of Public Health Sustainable Initiative Advocacy (PHSAI), Barr. Ayo Adebusoye; Abiodun Ajayi, coordinator of LPAY in Lagos, among others. The programme similarly had in attendance other key members of PHSAI and members of the Media Advocacy Working Group (MAWG) in Lagos State.
Part of the big issue raised on that day was that if used effectively, family planning could save lives.
For instance, with a maternal mortality ratio at 546 deaths per 100,000 live births (amounting to 40,000 pregnancy-related deaths annually), Nigeria accounts for 14 per cent of the global burden of maternal deaths, 95 per cent of which are caused by seven preventable conditions, including unsafe abortion.
Each year, it is estimated that between 610,000 and 1.2 million abortions are procured by women aged 15 to 44 years. Experts said that if all females who need family planning had access to the commodities, 44 per cent of all maternal deaths in Nigeria could be averted.
However, what plays out in the country is that about 85 per cent of women and 95 per cent of men report that they know contraceptive method, but just 15 per cent were using it.
The unmet need of women willing to stop or delay births but not using contraception is 18 per cent, according to the 2018 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS).
In his presentation, Adebusoye said going by the Lagos State contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) target to increase its family planning uptake from 48 to 74 per cent by 2018, the target of which has now been revised after the 2017 London Summit be effective by 2020, the increase in CPR alone would have saved an additional 657 mothers and the lives of 8,500 children by 2018.
Similarly, Lagos State would have saved an additional N3.5 billion (approximately $10 million) in direct healthcare expenses by 2018.
However, Adebusoye said these achievable targets will not be possible without eliminating current barriers to family planning methods, choice and use, adding that a major hinderance to accessing family planning commodities is the out-of-pocket cost of consumables, especially at the local government supported primary healthcare centres (PHCs).
While family planning commodities including injectables, implants, intra uterine devices (IUD), condoms, among others, are provided free by the Federal Government with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the shortage and sometimes the non-availability of consumables such as cotton wool, gloves, syringes, spirit, plaster, gels, creams, among others, used to administer the commodities on clients, could limit access to family planning uptake.
Demand from most clients of low-income families, as little as N500 usually ended in ‘no-deal’ for most poor clients seeking to use family planning.
These category of women don’t have money for consumables, no matter how little. When such women depart a family planning clinic with the promise to return on a future date because of lack of money for consumables, often they do not go back there.
According to a family planning expert, Dr. Salami Habeeb, when next they are seen at the health facility, they are already pregnant. Habeeb is a consultant obstetrics and gynaecologist and consultant with the Pathfinder International Nigeria.
Poor budgeting and sometimes, delay or lack of budget release have been largely blamed for shortage of consumables. For instance, available records show that the family planning budget at the Lagos State Ministry of Health in 2018 was N103 million. Also, the budget for family planning consumables at PHCB in 2018 was N50 million, but none of the above budgets were released that year.
To prevent delays in release of budgeted funds as well as ensure the provision of improved family planning budget, Adebusoye said PHSAI members have engaged sole administrators of local government council areas in Lagos, heads of local council development authorities, medical officers of health (MOH), and chairmen of community development committees.
Based on findings that many local government council area chairmen lack the understanding of how accessing family planning could be successful, Okanlawon said more frequent advocacy visits to the chairmen of local governments should take place to educate them on the importance of providing funds for family planning consumables.
“If we really want to achieve our objective of getting increased funding for consumables, we should pay more courtesy visits and conduct more awareness campaign to the chairmen,” she said.
On her part, Umar explained that the Ministry of Youth and Social Development in Lagos State where she is a desk officer, has a budget line for HIV/AIDS, but the UNFPA funds most of the ministry’s activities around sexual reproductive health (SRH).
She said: “For my ministry, we have a budget line for HIV/AIDS, but sometimes, we try to inject SRH into it. Hence, we are still trying to find a way of merging both.”
Umar said UNFPA was supporting the ministry by giving providing condoms, adding, “We don’t go beyond giving condoms because we are youth officers.”
Asked what was done when young persons need more than condoms, Umar said they were usually referred to health facilities.
On unfriendly officers, she said: “We are improving on that while ensuring that most officials on that beat were young persons who the youth clients could trust. “This could help to achieve a youth-friendly atmosphere,” she added.
Based on the high risk sexual behaviour among young people, which is responsible for the increased teenage pregnancy, out of school girls, baby dumping, post abortion complication and death in Lagos State, Ajayi called for increased discussion around adolescents and youth SRH/family planning.
In addition, he called for sustained increase in the budgetary allocation for Adolescent Youth and Sexual Reproductive Health (AYSRH) in the 2020 Budget in Lagos. If the highlighted recommendations could be carried out effectively in Lagos and other states, experts and other stakeholders agreed that these could increase uptake of family planning in the country.
Psychiatrists call for mental health education to curb suicides
A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Abdur-Rasheed Awesu, has called for mental health education as a tool to curb the rising tides of suicide in Nigeria.
Awesu, who works at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, made the call on Friday in Lagos, while commenting on the commemoration of the 2019 World Mental Health.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act.
It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
According to Awesu, there is need to change the mindset of everyone on how to maintain a good health.
He said that family and neighbours need to be up and doing, and as well be up to the task of curbing the tide.
Also, Dr Veronic Nyamali, a psychiatrist, said that life should be seen from a mixed angles of good, sweet and bad.
Nyamali said that suicide should not be an option to end one’s life, noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s statistics show that one million people died of suicide.
She also said that every 40 seconds, someone died and at every two seconds, someone is somewhere attempting to commit suicide.
Nyamali said that factors associated with suicide include: biological, medical, social, genetic and psychological.
She said that when these factors occurred, attention should be given to the families of the bereaved, not to be hammering on what the victim used in taken his or her life, such that we all know Sniper now.
The psychiatrist enjoined the governments to put up a unit in the hospital environment to be dealing with cases of suicide as it was being done in accident emergency in normal hospitals.
Nyamali said that the media also have great role to play in the surge and should always help in the areas of information and keeping hope alive for whoever was passing through one challenge or the other.
‘Guild of Medical Directors well placed to attain UHC’
Guild Medical Directors (GMD) said with the delivery of over 70 per cent health care in Nigeria, it was in a strong position to assist Nigerians access health at their door step. The organisation made this known as it prepares for its 25th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference coming up in Abuja.
The GMD said it was set to tackle the issue of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) during its 25th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference coming up in Abuja. The event scheduled to take place at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre in Abuja in October 25 to 26, will discuss widely and proffer solutions as private medical practitioners lead the vanguard.
The GMD, which is a body of the Chief Medical Directors of some of the most active practices in Nigeria has always been concerned that the critical role of private practitioners has not been fully tapped, to improve health delivery to the majority of Nigerians.
The GMD can contribute massively through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Everyone is invited to contribute to the success of the conference by participating and contributing actively. We must all take the bull by the horn to solve Nigeria’s health issues, the body stated.
Mary Expirander: A cruel hand of fate
Life is like an ocean. No one knows the deep end of it and it is, in fact, like a mirage. It’s a platform where one is only sure of the moment, cannot determine the next occurrence. Such is life for Mary Expirander, who had an auto accident three months after her wedding and needs urgent medical intervention to correct her damaged Spinal Cord. OLUWATOSIN OMONIYI writes
If Expirander, 35, had had premonition of an ill-fated incident, she definitely would have avoided it. If she had known that she would become bed ridden for almost eight years of her life, she may not have embarked on the journey that crippled her, leaving her in a vegetative state. Due to a damaged spinal cord, she cannot rise up from lying down condition which seems to have become her permanent status except for urgent medical intervention. She has become bedridden for seven years due to a fatal accident. According to her, three months after her wedding, she embarked on a journey to Akwa Ibom for her father-in-law’s coronation in Oron, Akwa-Ibom state, when suddenly the break of the bus failed, it somersaulted several times leaving many injured. “I was on my way to my husband home town in Oron, Uyo Akwa-Ibom state on Benin Asaba express way, the bus I was traveling with, had a break failure, somersaulted severally and landed in a ditch with only three survivors and I was fortunate to be among them. I spent six months and two weeks at the National Orthopaedic Hospital Igbobi, Yaba Lagos State Nigeria,” she said.
Before getting referred to Yaba Igbobi hospital, she was taken to General Hospital, Asaba, where they put collar to her neck and inserted catheter to her vaginal for easy and decent flow of urine because she couldn’t control her bladder. After spending six months at the General Hospital, she was referred to Igbobi Hospital, Yaba.
At the hospital, she said she did surgery due to bed sore on her buttocks, did another surgery due to contraction of about 5kg on her head for six weeks. She eventually got discharged July 1, 2013 and was asked to go home to continue with physiotherapy. “They had to insert an iron into my head for some time before I got healed there. My right hand got affected, can’t hold anything,” she said.
Finding no succour yet in the hospital, she was discharged to go home and heal naturally. Instead of healing, her health becames deteriorative; she has been confined to lying down and with difficulty sitting up in a wheel chair.
Expirander said she got discharged despite the fact that she wasn’t properly healed but said she suspect it was due to bed space at the Igbobi hospital. “They only told me to go and continue with physiotherapy treatment at home but they diagnosed that my spinal cord is affected, luckily the bones are not broken,” she said. According to her medical report, she lost sensations from level C4 which affected her level C6 and C7- medical terms for her condition.
Meaning that, she cannot move her waist, from her lower limbs down to her leg, but she said she feels little sensation around her upper body where she can move a bit with difficulty and that is the upper back to the neck area, just that she can’t move her two legs.
The good news however, is that it can be corrected. “The medical doctors that examined me said it can be corrected. After writing several letters to various hospitals, she said she eventually got response from one of the hospitals in the United State of America, Texas precisely. The cost implication according to her is $35,000 which is N12,600M in Nigerian currency. “I want Nigerians to help me because I can’t continue lying down like this, I need to take care of my home, I need to have my own children, I don’t have a child yet,” she pleaded.
Before the accident that got her partially paralysed, the graduate of marketing was a plus size model, was into commercial adverts for products and was into acting, and other businesses.
Even in her pitiable condition, Expirander still radiates beauty and ray of hope that she would get fine some day. With a sweet voice and good fluent English, Expirander begged for financial assistance from kind-hearted-Nigerians to help her still see the brighter side of life- walk on her leg again.
Unfortunately for Expirander, her father-in-law whom she was going for the coronation before the ill-fated occurrence, has never for once paid her a visit, according to her. She said only her mother-in-law came round and few months after in 2016. “Truth is that, my husband people have never been there for me. My father-in-law has never been here to see me. He comes to Lagos regularly but has never been here to see me,” she said.
Shockingly too, her husband has also not been there for her, even ceased going to her room to check on her. In fact, Expirander lives in perpetual fear of her husband whom she describes as temperamental. According to their neighbours who spoke to New Telegraph, several times, they would hear voices of the woman crying and asking for help while the husband would be hitting loud on his wife’s room door speaking with anger and threatening to pull down the door. “In fact, we believe that he beats the poor woman because the level at which he curses and yell is alarming,” a neighbour who pleaded anonymity said.
Expirander a graduate of Lagos State University (LASU) needs urgent surgery to correct her affected spine but lacks the financial capacity to do so. “I now urgently need Cervical spondyloptosis Spinal Cord Surgery done.
I had a Philadelphia collar, which was managed conservatively on skeletal traction. Radiology investigation confirmed a cervical spondyloptosis and transection of the spinal cord; sensory sensation was lost, and I also suffered friction burns and bed sores.
I was having physiotherapy treatment for years, but the Nigeria medical system wasn’t forthcoming. In view of this situation, I will need the sum of 12.6 Million Naira or equivalent of ($35,000) for a Traumatic spondyloptosis Surgery, pre and post Surgery care in Houston Texas USA.
“I was not prepared for the numerous strenuous life altering journey ahead, each day of my life, brings excitement with every eye flutter and flinch of the shoulder. The reality and severity of my injuries means that financial support from good people, friends, families, anyone, and everyone that can help will go a very long way, and no matter how little it is. I will appreciate your hands of fellowship in this regards.”
You can kindly send your donation via gofundme.com/f/gofundmecomffund-help-Mary-to-walk-again
Guaranty Trust Bank
Acct num: 0014884107
Name: Mary Expirander
Limited radiotherapy services hinder cervical cancer cure – Salako
Dr. Omolola Salako is a radiation oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and founder, executive/ director of Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre, a cancer charity with vision to empower and treat cancer patients. In this interview, she discusses the importance of cancer cervical screening, factors driving the development of new cancer infections, strategies to curb them, challenges facing cancer treatment in the country, among others. She spoke with APPOLONIA ADEYEMI
How common is cervical cancer in this environment?
The truth is, for every known face for celebrity that dies of cancer, there are more than 2,000 other unknown names and unknown faces who have died of cancer. Cancer does not respect age, religion, social economic status, gender and tribe; it may affect the rich, the poor and the old. At the end of the day, cervical cancer incidents are very high in Nigeria. More than 14,000 new cases are diagnosed every year and that is unacceptably high because it is a preventable disease, meaning that no one should actually be diagnosed with cervical cancer, talk less of dying from it. Unfortunately, Nigeria continues to rank as one of the countries with a very high death rate from cancer. More than 80 per cent of people diagnosed with cancer in Nigeria died from the disease. So, for us to win the war against cancer, let’s start with the low hanging fruit, those cancers that are preventable like cervical cancer, let’s stop them.
Is there available statistics of the prevalence of cancer in the last 10 years in Nigeria?
Yes, from the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and other international partners, statistics shows that more than 140,000 new cancer cases occur every year in Nigeria and the truth is that it’s an underestimation because that statistics is gotten from those patients who present in the hospitals, but we know that some people do not present to the hospitals and they may be as much as 140,000. So, we don’t have the complete picture of cancer incidents, but our cancer hospitals are flo0oded with thousands of cancer patients.
Could you please shed more light on this mortality rate from this ailment?
A cancer like cervical cancer can be detected as stage zero during screening. If you detect it at stage zero, it will never become full blown cancer. But when cancer is detected at stage one and stage two, that is early stage. It is curable most times. If it is cured, the person will not die from that cancer, but in Nigeria, people are presenting at stage three and stage four cervical cancer, meaning, women are presenting with heavy bleeding from the vagina and this is abnormal because they are either bleeding after sex, bleeding in between menstrual periods or they are bleeding after menopause. This are some of the symptoms of cervical cancer and when women bleed they present to hospitals with low blood, which we call anaemia. To correct that, we have to transfuse them with blood. We have to correct infection.
When the cancer is advanced, we have to provide pain killers, antibiotics and we have to rehydrate them and sometimes, advanced cervical cancer causes renal failure. So, some cervical cancer patients need dialysis.
At the end of the day, a lot of women are dying from cervical cancer due to the cancer is so advanced, spreading around the body or they are dying from anaemia or they are dying from renal failure. In Nigeria today, more than 80 per cent of cervical cancer patients will die from their disease, especially we don’t have enough treatment facilities.
If we are going to cure cervical cancer, we need optimal radiotherapy services and Nigeria does not have enough radiotherapy services.
So, patients who have cervical cancer and need radiotherapy services will get radio therapy.
There are two types of cancer treatment machines, the external beam therapy and the brachytherapy. The typical situation in Nigeria now is that to get those two machines, patients have to travel to two states. It’s ether they receive external beam radiotherapy in Lagos and travel to Gombe for brachytherapy. Currently, the teaching hospital in Gombe has the brachytherapy service and that’s the only place where brachytherapy is working. Meanwhile, for us to cure our cervical cancer patients, patients who receive brachytherapy will also get the external beam radiotherapy. You understand that it’s a challenge to cure cervical cancer because patients are not able to receive optimal radiotherapy to cure it. So, prevention is the way to go, which is better than cure.
From your experience, why should Nigerian women worry about cervical cancer?
If one has taken care of someone with cancer or is going through cancer or you know someone you love with cancer, you will know it is very bad experience. It takes time, and money. It causes a lot of pain. It’s situation that’s best voided when it can be.
There are thousands of women today with cervical cancer and it’s a painful situation because they are going to spend millions of Naira and their chances of cure is very low. The quality of life is going to reduce because things they could use that make them happy would be used on their healthcare. The disease itself causes a lot of symptoms: pain, abnormal bleeding, fowl smell, watery discharge; a woman canot face her normal life anymore because she is in and out of hospital. So, we have found that we can prevent this cancer if women go for their cervical cancer screening. You can do the visual inspection acetic acid screening which is available in our three primary health centres in Lagos State. You can do a pap smear; you can choose to do liquid base cytology. If you want a free service, come to our primary health care centre; if you also want free services go to other PHCs where such services are available. If you can afford the a pap smear or liquid base cytology, then go to the hospitals or diagnostic centres. It is wrong for women to come down with cervical cancer.
The reason why women come down with cervical cancer is because they did not detect the pre-cancer stage many years before they presented to the hospitals. If they go for annual medical checkup they will detect some of these things. When I talk about screening, cervical cancer screening is just one of the components of annual medical checkup.
A woman who is in her thirties or fourties has a lot of tests to do: you check your blood level, heart and medical tests is compulsory for men and women. Cervical cancer and breast cancer screening are part of the annual medical checkup. So, I will encourage men and women to visit any PHC facilities or any hospital they are comfortable with and speak with the medical professionals that they want to do annual mediacal checkup. They will educate them on what tests is suitable for their age and they should go ahead and do it. What we would find out is that they would prevent certain diseases, not just cancer. These diseases include control hypertension, diabetes mellitus and other diseases that affect people without warning signs.
A lot of people a dropping dead from heart attack, which is due to hypertension and when you ask the relatives of such patients if they were hypertensive, they will say may be once or twice they detected their hypertension, but did not think they were serious and that’s it. This is why as Nigerians, we have to take our annual medical checkup more seriously.
What are the major challenges of fighting cancer?
Some of the challenges are lack of awareness. The truth is, many women do not know what cervical cancer or screening is all about and when someone doesn’t know something, they can’t take action so we need to improve on awareness.
Second, cost of screening is high. Screening starts from N1,000 and can be as expensive as N30,000, depending on the screening method chosen. Some women are not ready to part with N1,000 not because they don’t want to part with it; they just don’t have it. Poverty and inability to afford screening is another issue. Doing annual medical check-up is important. We can also collaborate efforts between the community mobilisers health educators, governments and journalists.
Ajayi: Quality care delivery, not cheap
Founder and Managing Director of Nordica Fertility Center Lagos, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi has alerted Nigerians on the importance of working to ensure as well as sustain good health for themselves always, but noted that getting quality care was not cheap nor free anywhere in the world.
Ajayi who is also the founder of the Fertility Treatment Support Foundation (FTSF) made this known during the Nordica Fertility Centre 2019 Independent anniversary celebration, which held at the Elegushi Beach in Lagos State recently.
Speaking on ‘Live At The Beach,’ Ajayi emphasised that health care should be more of private sector driven and reasoned that if not so operated, Nigeria would continue to build shades and call them hospitals.
The managing director who was celebrated by friends and relations at the occasion, said that the poor percentage of the nation’s budget earmarked for health could not provide a 21st Century health care.
“The private sector should be allowed to play the major role, while the governments contribute their quota at the primary care level,” he stressed.
It will be recalled that African heads of state at a meeting in Abuja in April 2001, agreed to devote 15 per cent of national budgets to health as a strategy to raise the bar with a view to improve the quality of care delivery.
However, since that declaration, the situation has not changed with Nigeria still budgeting less than five per cent of its national budget to health.
However, based on the poor health indices being recorded in the country, high mortality, outbreak of new infections, brain drain of medical professionals, which is contributing to worsen treatment outcome, Ajayi has further charged the three tiers of government to increase health budget, while suggesting greater role for the private sector.
Speaking further in his independent day message, Ajayi said, “In spite of any challenges we can face as an individual or collectively, we as Nigerians should celebrate our dear Nation. Nigeria as an entity, which has given us the grace to be addressed as Nigerians, is worth celebrating, in spite of any challenges.
It is not because we are fertility driven that I am saying this; that is not the idea. The idea is because we are Nigerians.”
In addition, he said, “I don’t like personalising issues because we are all faced with the same problem. I was not born with a silver spoon, I inherited nothing; it is by the grace of God and hard work that has brought me this far.
“What I noticed in our country is crash of values. We have missed it out in this country and not until we can go back to the things we do that made us great once upon a time, we cannot build this Nation.
“Though we are amalgamation of Nations, but we should respect each other’s values. Our structures are bad because our values has been thrown to the dogs.”
According to Ajayi, “Some people shed their blood to make those countries we are running to today what they are. So, some people also must stay behind to make this country great for the coming generation to enjoy.
If we want this country to change for the better, you and I must first change ourselves. If all the reasonable people run out of the country, the country will be left with idiots, and eventually the country will collapse.”
Laughter tackles stress, boosts health
A recent research has proved that laughter has many health benefits.
According to the study published in the ‘Journal of Neuroscience’ when people gathered to watch 30 minutes of comedy clips, their bodies released endorphins or “feel good” chemicals in the brain through opioid receptors causing feelings of “euphoria” without the obvious downside of taking drugs.
Dr. Judy Kuriansky, the renowned international psychologist and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to a Healthy Relationship,” said laughter helps form a bond between two people.
“Laughter can become contagious and is a great technique to share your experience with another person,” she said. “It’s also a way to switch your brain into a happier mode when you are feeling sad. You can start with a chuckle and work your way up to a full, all-out belly laugh. Don’t hold back!
Laughing helps release tension and anxiety because it interrupts the patterning of our brain so we can let go and stop obsessing over what’s worrying us.”
Other ways laughter helps the body include:
Exercise: “When you allow yourself a good, old fashioned belly laugh, you are using your stomach muscles, shoulders, opening up your lungs and actually improving your posture,” said Kuriansky. “We spend so much of our time slumped over our devices that a good laugh can open up the heart and our bodies.”
Cardiovascular health: Laughing appears to have an anti-inflammatory effect that protects blood vessels and heart muscles from cardiovascular disease, according to a study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center. It expands the inner lining of the blood vessels to allow blood to flow more freely.
Stress, by the way, has the opposite effect: It causes the blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow. “The benefits of laughter cannot be understated,” said Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Benico Barzilai. “Laughter leads to an immediate reduction in the body’s negative response to stress and causes the blood vessels in the body — including the heart — to increase blood flow as needed.”
Stress reduction: Laughter has been found to have other beneficial effects on our biochemistry, including a reduction of stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, which can cause cell damage.
Boosts immune system: Laughter boosts the number of antibody-producing cells that can lead to a stronger immune system.
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