- The rotarians flanked by the girls displaying the sanitary pads at the event…recently
By Anthony Nwachukwu
In line with its commitment to enhancing the health and education of the girl-child, the Rotary Club of Ikoyi, Lagos State has begun the vaccination of the girl-child against the deadly Human Papillomavirus (HPV), otherwise known as cervical cancer.
The club, partnering Rotary District 9110, administered the second and complete dose of the vaccine to hundreds of female students of Wahab Folawiyo Junior Secondary School, Osbone Road, Ikoyi, last week.
President of the club, Dr. Uche Obienu, told newsmen after the exercise that the second dose of the vaccine ensures protection of the girls from cervical cancer. He explained: “We are here today for a double project. One is Human Papillomavirus (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 cervical cancer, they will not, by the grace of God, suffer the effect of cervical cancer, which means they have been protected.”
On its star project – the distribution of sanitary pads to female students across Lagos schools, Obienu disclosed that over 1,000 female students will receive 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 one year. This year, we will distribute to close to 1,000 girls every month to take care of their monthly cycle.”
He further explained: “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 centered our star project on making sure they don’t drop from school during their menstrual cycle (their period), so we ensure 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, sanitary pad or sanitary towel.
“Some of them use unhygienic materials like cotton, tissue paper, foam, some of them even cut their mothers’ old wrappers, and some don’t even use anything.”
He added that with the collaboration of partners, the club will continue to distribute 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 we have been able to get enough pads to last the cause of this project.”
According to him, apart from breast cancer, cervical cancer is the next mass-killer of women and, “individually, these girls may not be able to afford the vaccination. Rotary has eradicated polio from Nigeria, we are now facing cervical cancer with the girl-child.”
Obienu, who disclosed that the government across all levels was aware of their campaign, explained that the full dosage of the vaccine, which is administered free of charge, costs about N50,000 per person.
Meanwhile, the club’s Project Director, Adenike Aroloye, said that over 2000 girls between nine and 13 years are being targeted in the school, and the 151 girls covered in the first phase were being administered the second those at that outing.
With them to encourage the young girls to keep clean and hygienic was Sylvia Moraa Mochabo from Nairobi, Kenya. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Motaiga, the reigning Miss United Nation, Miss Africa Elite 2022 and the Queen of Africa 2022.