ALFARWA, in one of Nigeria's indigenous languages (Hausa Language), means "the tent". As part of the culture, men gather together every night after the day's activities to eat and gist. This is one major platform I use for Lung Cancer advocacy. Here, we discuss issues about not just Lung cancer alone but daily healthy lifestyle choices and matters around men. Because most of these people are not on any social media platform, we decided to bring the information down to their doorstep where they can listen and learn in a language that they understand and interpret well. A healthy lifestyle, good food, avoiding smoking, and other risk factors that can endanger their lives are the focus of this weekly meeting. In addition, we do health talks in Places of religious worship and among several age groups, most especially the youth and young adults. WhatsApp is another means of sharing daily lung cancer information and broadcasting to people who are on my contact list.
MACA is an organization focused on cancer awareness, education, and research, with lung cancer taking center stage. Lung cancers because statistics have it that about 70% of those diagnosed with lung cancer in Africa (Nigeria) are people who are nontobacco users. This means that, if not tobacco, then other risk factors are responsible for the increased death due to lung cancer. Hesitancy for early diagnosis is another major challenge. As an intern with the organization, I am committed to advocating for early diagnosis and screening, providing support to those undergoing treatment at the Oncology Department of the National Hospital Abuja.
MACA is committed to the welfare of lung cancer patients at the National Hospital Abuja. As a team, we have a stand in the oncology unit where we arrange activities based on urgency of fluid samples which helps to bridge the gap in treatment such that test results can be received in a good turnaround time. We identify lung cancer patient visiting the hospital using their ID, reassuring them of a safe and prompt treatment option by answering questions and offering useful information. We also collaborate with recognized diagnostic laboratories across the city of Abuja where patients can be referred to for real-time cancer screening. Also, for most patients visiting the hospital, their cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage, which has been the main cause of delay in treatment, sometimes leading to the disease getting advanced to the terminal stage. So we do not wait till the people are sick and visit the hospital; we go into the community to talk to them about Lung cancer. This is geared towards reducing the morbidity and mortality of the disease. We have posters, leaflets, caps, t-shirts, and wristbands that talk about Lung cancer in the indigenous language that is simple to read and easy to comprehend. We also give financial assistance to people who are convinced and willing to go for testing. We recommend them to recognized and accredited laboratories for lung cancer testing. My ability to understand and communicate fluently in the three major Nigerian languages, including English, is an added advantage in the advocacy and Lung cancer awareness drive, especially in communities around Abuja, the federal capital territory of Nigeria. I also do weekly cancer sensitization and broadcasts on WhatsApp for the benefit of those who are using the application.