Of Prevention and Cures – Fighting Cervical Cancer



On either side of the Atlantic, two passionate individuals are taking the fight to cervical cancer. Both are women, have earned the Dr. title and are working tirelessly to save women from a preventable killer disease. What is particularly intriguing is the possibility that neither of them has met the other but are using different means to achieve a common goal; saving lives. These two are a source of inspiration for many. More crucially, they have become role models for millions of young women in developing countries and will motivate them to take up careers in STEM.Two days ago, the UN marked itsInternational Day for Women and Girls in Science.
For centuries, the immense contribution of women to science has been obscured. It is both illuminating and painful to discover advances in physics, chemistry, mathematics, health, programming, space science etc made or contributed to by women whose names have been buried in the footnotes. It is therefore imperative to celebrate those in our time doing such revolutionary work.


Meet our Women Crush Wednesday: Dr Onyedikachi Chioma Nwakanma and Dr Eva Ramon Gallegos.




Dr Nwakanma is a Nigerian doctor using storytelling for health advocacy. She is one of the foremost health advocates in a country where lack of health information increases the burden of disease and leads to thousands of death. She is a strong campaigner for cervical cancer awareness providing prevention, screening and treatment information to half a million people online.











Her impact is not restricted to the intricate highways of the internet. She is as tireless offline where she works on a variety of health programs. She organizes free health outreaches taking quality healthcare to underserved communities. Earlier today, Her Smile With Me NGO carried out a successful free cervical cancer screening program for hundreds of women in Lagos and Abia states. You can find her here on Twitter.




Dr Eva Ramon Gallegos is a Mexican scientist who has been working for two decades to find a cure for human papillomavirus, the pathogen implicated as the known cause of cervical cancer. She is a researcher at the National Polytechnic Institute. How does one keep up such determination and hope for that long? Many would have been discouraged but Dr Gallegos trudged on until a couple of days ago, she achieved her dream. Using photodynamic therapy, she and her team completely eliminated HPV in 29 infected patients. This article details the groundbreaking achievement that we must celebrate given its potential of saving millions of women.



We have a personal interest in this disease and thus all efforts and news like this make us jump for joy. It has always bothered us that something that can be easily treated and prevented still kills so many women. It feels like rainbows to know we now have a cure for the causative infection. There are valid concerns that historically, medical science has not given equal importance to women’s health. It is therefore of striking significance when women achieve feats that close that gap. This cure needs to be made accessible globally so it reaches those who need it the most.


To all the nerds and geeks out there you rock! Your work saves lives and its impact is felt around the world. To all who are working on an innovative solution to the problems facing us, hang in there and be patient. Learn from Dr Gallegos- stay strong, believe in your dream no matter what, keep working at it and don’t accept defeat.

The world awaits your work.

Oumissa,
Lagos Nigeria,
130219







Health and Books – My Social Media Week Lagos Experience

KhamisLifestyle Read a Book and Go Offline

The two books I just fell in love with at the KhamisLifestyle Social Media Week Lagos Event. I read a few pages from each and was enthralled!
(Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger
And A Platter of Gold by Olasupo Shasore).

Two days ago, I hosted a session as CEO, KhamisLifestyle – Story Story: Read a Book And Go Offline with Spa Pampering At Home for its Offline Wellness Studio at the Social Media Week Lagos event. It was all shades of amazing. I had a great time with great participants.

Last Thursday was one of the most hectic and yet rewarding days I’ve had. All morning and afternoon was for the Hellocare Nigeria Telling Great Stories in Healthcare, a Social Media Week Off-Campus event which held at Doctoora Health hub at Surulere.

that smile is what everyone deserves to have.

Then came the rushed cab ride through Costain and Island traffic to Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island to host the KhamisLifestyle event. I wish I had a helicopter! Of course I got there behind schedule but I had the best facilitators and participants who got things started. (Thank you!)

It was fun being on teams organizing two Social Media Week Lagos events in one day! I thought it was impossible at first but with a solid support system and positive affirmation I pulled through ( This throbbing headache is worth it!)

Harnessing the power of social media to change lives

I am immensely grateful to every single person who helped me do this. The donations, the kind words of encouragement, the listening ears, the backbreaking work, networks , flurry of calls and emails and so much more make me believe that humanity is alive and thriving.

Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learnt this past week is “Believe in yourself and your power to do great stuff. Don’t worry, Allah’s got it.”

_________

With Love,

Oumissa

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Vaccine Safety:World Immunization Week

Despite the fact that vaccines are among the most effective and cost-efficient health interventions, many children still die or have their development stunted due to rejection on the part of their parents.

This stems from the dual doubts of efficacy and safety. This piece explores both.

Read the rest of the article.

Achieving Health For All

It’s World Health Day!

The theme is about ensuring no one has to pay out of pocket at point of care or become impoverished by healthcare. This is in line with the Sustainable Goal #3 which aims to make quality healthcare available and accessible to everyone, anytime by 2030.

Currently, only about 1% of Nigerians are covered by health insurance – an alarming statistic in a country with an estimated population of 180million people. Meanwhile it has been shown to be more a matter of political will than the wealth of a country. For example, Cuba has achieved a healthcare system that is more efficient and equally accessible by its citizens than many of its richer counterparts.

This brilliant doctor-in-a-bit Opeyemi Awofeso captures it all in her Instagram post.

The sad reality is that previously unplanned cash payments for healthcare services sinks many poor households around the world deeper into the grips of poverty. Dr Chike Opara elucidates more in his article .

This is a call to action. We all can contribute to achieving this right for all. We shouldn’t wait until someone close to us is at the point of sickness and distress before it concerns us.

Let me leave you with these salient tweets by Dr Nnewuihe Obinna , the health policy enthusiast.

________

OumissaInspire

070418

Lagos

Nigeria

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 10

I usually walk very fast.

Markets in Lagos are well known for their hustle and bustle. Mother used to take me along whenever she wanted to shop. She walked very fast.  I used to struggle to keep up with her pace and most times ended up being dragged along. Once, my hand slipped from hers and I lost her for some minutes. I was momentarily confused as there were so many people rushing past. I frantically searched for her but I couldn’t find her. I thought I would never get home. I did not call out to her because the market noise was deafening. After three terrifying minutes, the sea of people washed me over to Mother. I saw her worry blend into relief. Angry, she said, “You naughty child! why can’t you hold on to me, ehn?”, while pulling me closer at the same time. Never again did I walk behind her. I had learnt my lesson.

*                     *                       *                       *

I became used to it. When walking in a group, I walk faster than the others can keep up with. It’s like I’m always in a rush. Most times, I want to get somewhere quickly and so I try to avoid wasting too much time trying to get there.

When I  read it in a science journal that walking fast was good for the health, I told all those who used to complain about my walking pace .

Walking briskly for  thirty minutes every day can do a lot for the health. Some of the benefits include :

1. It is an easy exercise.

2. It is a good way to reduce abdominal fat.

3. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes

4. It lowers blood pressure.

5. It keeps the body fit.

6. It increases longevity.

7. It is good for mental health.

8. Walking for a mile each day burns approximately 100 calories.

Many of us do not realize the value of walking to our health. It is recommended to drop a bus stop before your house so you can walk the remaining distance. Walk around the house. Don’t sit for hours in front of the TV. To make it fun, take walks in the morning. It would be more enjoyable with a friend or relative, enjoy the scenery and breath in some fresh air. Come on people, let’s walk our way to good health!

Sources: about.com, AARP.com

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 5

I eat potatoes.

My first try at solid food was mashed potatoes and eggs. Soon it became a favourite. As I grew older however, I ditched the Irish variety for  the sweet. I  later learnt  it is the main cash crop in my hometown where it is called ‘anamo’. I eat potatoes with almost anything and I really don’t mind if it is boiled, baked or fried into chips. I like it best with chicken and ketchup.

Potatoes are grown all over the world and constitute a staple in many countries. They are served in a wide variety of delicacies. One advantage is that they are  cheap and easy to come by. Sadly, many do not appreciate the health benefits inherent in potatoes. Others smother it in a lot of butter and cream.

Without all the fat and deep frying,  a baked potato is a low-calorie,  high fibre food that can provide significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is a good source of antioxidants.

It is the best  most affordable source of potassium.It is also  rich in dietary fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, copper  and manganese. Other nutrients that can be derived from it include, iron,calcium, magnesium,sodium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, beta carotene, Vitamin B6,E and K.  It is the new wonder food. To get much of its nutrients it is better to bake or boil with the skin.

After reading this I hope you  look at potatoes in a brighter light.

P.S  Medilag students, when ordering your nightly ‘skaries’ remember to ask for a generous helping of potato.

Sources: WHFoods,Wikipedia