By Rosemary Iwuala
…calls for greater partnership among stakeholders
Polaris Bank has called for greater partnership among stakeholders to increase awareness of breast cancer and to raise funds for research into its cause and prevention, saying that increased awareness, advocacy, and support will go a long way to reduce the incidence of the disease in Nigeria.
Nduneche Ezurike, group head, strategic brand management at Polaris Bank, stated this in Lagos while reiterating the bank’s unwavering commitment to stem the breast cancer scourge among women, in commemoration of October Breast Cancer Month.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is an annual international health campaign organised by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause and prevention.
Ezurike noted that healthcare is one of the pillars of Polaris Bank’s CSR, stressing that its partnership with relevant public-spirited NGOs like Care Organisation Public Enlightenment (COPE) and Societal Healthcare Organisation (SHO) has enabled it to contribute significantly to the reduction of breast cancer in the country.
“In partnership with the aforementioned NGOs, we have covered five key milestones, namely, awareness, advocacy, capacity-building, prevention, and treatment, in an ongoing effort to reverse the negative impact and trend of the scourge and other related health complications,” Ezurike said.
“We have screened over 20,000 women including female staff members of the bank through our prevention programme, donated three ultra-modern breast cancer screening machines to enhance quality diagnosis and clinical practices, sponsored the treatment of over 30 indigent cancer patients, and organized a 10-km walk with over 2,500 participants to draw public attention to the breast cancer scourge,” he said.
Ebunola Anozie, president of COPE, commended Polaris Bank for its support, care, and encouragement, stressing that the bank has been a strong force behind their Screening Counseling Referrals Education, Enlightenment, and Nurturing (SCREEN) initiative for nearly 20 years now.
“For some time, we had difficulty getting the required support for the women. Some of our women used handkerchiefs; some used tissues to fill up their bras. But we are grateful for the timely support of Polaris Bank. They were able to donate prostheses that ensured our breast cancer survivors lived better lives,” Anozie said.
Polaris Bank also has a number of other initiatives targeted at improving the well-being of the womenfolk in general in the country. It recently organized a three-day intensive capacity-building workshop in Northern Nigeria on life-saving skills for 50 community midwives and health extension workers, randomly selected from 80 percent public and 20 percent private hospitals in Kano State in partnership with SHO.