The National Obstetric Fistula Centre (NOFIC) in Ebonyi has said that early girl child marriage and exposure to sexual intercourse before age 16, is a predisposing factor to cervical cancer.
The Medical Director of NOFIC, Prof. Johnson Obuna, made the remark on Friday, during the flag-off of a Free Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment for women in the state.
The exercise was organised by the state government through the state Executive Committee on Medical Screening in collaboration with the office of the governor’s wife, Mrs Rachael Umahi.
Obuna said that giving out a girl child to marriage before 16 years of age made them prone to cancer.
The medical expert said that multiple sexual partners also exposed women to health condition.
He advocated for the inclusion of sex education in primary and secondary schools curriculum to reduce the risk factors.
The medical director said that the condition could be detected, prevented and stopped if reported at its early stage.
According to him, cervical cancer could also be treated if identified at the early stage unlike the ovarian cancer.
“Apart from early screening, another preventable measure is by not allowing our girl child to marry early.
“Early marriage and exposure to sexual intercourse before age 16 is a predisposing factor for cervical cancer,” he said.
Obuna commended Gov. David Umahi for his commitment to the health status of people in the state.
Mrs Umahi, represented by her Special Assistant on Welfare, Mrs Patience Offor, said an estimate of over 100, 000 new cases of cervical cancer was recorded every year in the country.
She pleaded with relevant bodies in the field of Oncology to offer effective services, and free outreaches to rural dwellers.
Umahi said that her pet project, ‘Family Succor and Upliftment Foundation’ had been in partnership with Joyce Jones Foundation on free cervical cancer screening and treatment.
The governor’s wife called on women and girls to avail themselves of the opportunity of free cervical cancer screening and treatment.
She urged local government chairpersons, coordinators of development centres and other stakeholders to mobilize women and bring them for the programme to achieve maximum result.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Eze Nwachukwu, said that the body was saddled with the responsibility of sensitisation and mobilisation of people to benefit from the gesture which was free.
Nwachukwu said that the exercise would be replicated at the local government levels.
He thanked the governor for the first phase of the free screening of Hepatitis B and C, stating that vaccination of those screened would commence on June 7.
Nwachukwu called on women of the state to take advantage of the exercise.