Notwithstanding its limited resources, mass medical mission has attained the following monumental milestones:
Intensive national awareness campaign through traditional and new media.
Establishment of community-based screening: In 2007, mass medical mission pioneered nationwide community-based cervical screening, known as the National Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme (NCCPP) and later incorporated other cancers, the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP). The NCPP has been carrying out nation-wide awareness/screening/vaccination and treatment campaigns since then. The cancer campaign is known as the BIG WAR Against Cancer.
Groups reached with awareness/screening include the underprivileged (prisoners, petty traders, the rural poor), religious groups (churches, mosques), uniformed professions like the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Customs, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Prisons, and others.
NCPP has also reached other corporate organizations like members of Chartered Institute of Bankers Nigeria – CIBN, staff of First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Guaranty Trust Bank, Oceanic bank, Amni Petroleum, ExxonMobil, IGI, Shell, Total Plc, Nigerian Television Authority, Radio Lagos, MTN, Zain, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria – FAAN, Laboratory Council of Nigeria, Nursing Council of Nigeria, law chambers, etc),
The awareness campaign has also been taken to public institutions such as the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Finance among others.
Establishment of camp screening, including National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) camps, religious conventions, campuses of higher institutions (universities, colleges of education, polytechnics) among others.
Screening campaigns in several states of Nigeria – Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, and others.
Production of a professional video film titled “Reflection!! – A story of courage,” which dramatized the facts about Cancer. Documentaries have also been produced.
Translation of awareness messages: The Bible Society of Nigeria supported NCPP in translating the cancer awareness messages into Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and other local languages.
These expert translations are to be made available as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) messages, powered by the major telecommunication companies, with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as the main facilitator.
National Cancer Awareness Months: NCPP adopted the international practice of having Cervical, Ovarian, Prostate and Breast cancer awareness months in January, March, September and October respectively. it also celebrates and advocates for cancer survivors on the International Cancer Survivors Day which holds in June.
Launching of the anti-Cancer Vaccine (GARDASIL) at the first centre of mmm/NCPP, on 18th of October, 2009, by the then Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili (of blessed memory)
Organization of major advocacy events to sensitize the policy makers, influential Nigerians and the public on the need to stem the cancer scourge.
Mothering Sunday Cervical Cancer Awareness Programme: first held in March, 2009, at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, in collaboration with the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN).
Prominent women in attendance included:
- The then Minister of Mines and Steel Development
- Prof Grace Alele Williams (former Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin);
- Dr. (Mrs.) E. A. Abebe (the then Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health) among others.
Bishop Peace Okonkwo (wife of the General Overseer of TREM), gave the keynote address at the event. She subsequently, became an advocate against cervical cancer.
International Cancer Awareness Banquet held on Saturday, March 27, 2010: NCPP had a major charity dinner at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. The theme of the event was ‘Reaching All families through the first families.’
At this event, the most recent Nigerian cancer casualties, including Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Mr. Yinka Craig, Governor Mamman Ali, Hajia Maryam Babangida, Evang. Sunny Okosun, etc were honoured.
Rtd General Yakubu Gowon, PhD, GCFR (former military Head of State of Nigeria), was the Chairman at the event whilst the family of Rtd General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR were the Guests of Honor.
NTA supported the event pro bono with a live broadcast simultaneously on both its network and international outlets.
Fathers’ Day Cancer Awareness Programme, June 2011: NCPP organized this event in collaboration with the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), at the National Theatre, Iganmu.
The Lagos State government was represented by the Permanent Secretary of Health, who lauded the role being played by NCPP; the former Governor of Delta State +H.E. Olorogun Felix Ibru was the Guest of Honour.
Setting up of support and advocacy groups including:-
JOURNALISTS AGAINST CANCER IN NIGERIA (JaCiN), a media advocacy group co-founded in 2010 by three bodies – the NCPP, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).
CLUB-100: A cancer awareness/advocacy group for youth (including youth corps members) & general public.
GOLDEN LINKS (GOODWILL AMBASSADORS): A number of prominent women and celebrities were invited as Golden Links of mmm/NCPP. These women include:
- Prof. (Dame) Uche Azikiwe; KSP, JP, MFR (wife of first President of Nigeria).
- Prof. Dora Akunyili (the then Minister of Information);
- Mrs. Elizabeth Ifeoma Idigbe (Punuka Chambers);
- Senator Lady (Mrs.) Eme Ufot Ekaete, MFR (then a serving Senator and one-time President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria);
- Mrs. Maria De Schmillen (wife of the then German Ambassador & Founder of Abuja Metropolitan Music Society;
- Erelu Aisha Babangida (then a Governor’s wife);
- Ms. Agatha Uyor Amata (CEO of Inside-Out Media Ltd/Rave TV/ FESECA);
- Princess Mrs. Sarah Adebisi Sosan, OFR (the then Deputy Governor of Lagos); among others.
The GOLDEN LINKS were later formally inaugurated on October 18, 2009. The inauguration was conducted by +Prof. Dora Akunyili (the Minister of Information); at an event held at the NCPP first Cancer Centre, to mark the anniversaries of mmm and NCPP.
GOLDEN PILLARS (GOODWILL AMBASSADORS): Some prominent men and celebrities were also invited and inaugurated as GOLDEN PILLARS including:
- Dr. May Nzeribe of blessed memory,
- Rochas Okorocha (then the President of the Nigerian Red Cross; now the Governor of Imo State),
- Mr. Ini Akpabio (MD/CEO, Nanet Hotels Limited),
- Sir Steve Omojafor, OON (advertising guru and former Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc), among others.
They were formally inaugurated on March 27, 2010 by H.E. General Yakubu Gowon.
OTHER ADVOCACY GROUPS:
PLWC or People Living With Cancer: A support group for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Cancer Survivors (CS): A peer group for survivors who are now cancer-free.
Health Advocacy Partners Initiative (HAPI): an advocacy group for doctors and health workers
ADVOCACY TO SITTING NIGERIAN LEADERS:
The then First Lady of Nigeria, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua graciously accepted to support the project. Hajia Yar’Adua was the official Guest of Honour at the formal launch of mmm/NCPP, on October 18, 2008.
President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR hosted the National Coordinator of NCPP as an official guest of the Presidency at the Aso Rock villa on two occasions, to deliberate on the campaign.
On both occasions, NCPP National Coordinator had the time to give extensive seminars on the initiative, in the presence of the President and other top government officials.
President Mohammadu Buhari, GCFR also hosted the Coordinators of NCPP as official guest of the Presidency at the Aso Rock villa under the auspices of #GivingTuesdayNigeria, a fundraising platform for the Big War Against Cancer, now known as ↑↓GoodTuesday. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON was also the host of a ↑↓GoodTuesday event at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
A proposed motion on cancer awareness / prevention was sent to the federal legislature by NCPP. Several civic leaders, including Governors, the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and Honorable Ministers have been involved with the campaign.
For instance, one of the Mobile Cancer Centres (PinkCruise) was donated by the Lagos State Government under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
ADVOCACY TO FORMER NIGERIAN LEADERS:
In furtherance of the campaign, NCPP National Coordinator also met with former Heads of State and other leaders, including General Yakubu Gowon (GCFR), General Ibrahim Babangida (GCFR), Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Abdusalam Abubakar (GCFR).
ADVOCACY TO RELIGIOUS LEADERS:
Religious leaders were not left out in the advocacy. One of the staunch supporters of mmm/NCPP from the early days was Pastor (Mrs.) Folu Adeboye (the “mummy G.O.” of the Redeemed Christain Church of God, RCCG). For her immense contribution, Pastor (Mrs.) Adeboye later became the first individual to be honoured with the NCPP Angel of Hope award on December 27, 2010.
Several other churches have offered their support including The Primate of the Anglican Church (His Grace, the Most Revd Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh) who invited NCPP National Coordinator to address the Synod in Abuja. Also, His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okojie who invited the NCPP Coordinator to address the Roman Catholic Archdiocesan laity. His Grace Archbishop Adewale Martins, is an advocate of the BIG WAR Against Cancer.
The Fountain of Life Church led by Pastor Taiwo Odukoya initiated an annual prison outreach in collaboration with NCPP. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria organized a mega programme anchored by its National Secretary, in support of NCPP.
NCPP has also reached out to the Muslim community in different parts of the country. In fact, NCPP’s first outreach to Abuja was at the instance of the Muslim community.
Setting up of fund-raising platforms, viz:
1. Short code (44777) – the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), with the support of all the major mobile network operators (MNO), created a special short code‘’44777”, for information and contribution.
2. Quick-teller code 777526 – Interswitch Nigeria supported the NCPP pro bono by establishing a dedicated code – “777526” – for NCPP, through which people can make donations via ATM or online at www.quickteller.com
3. The MoreLife initiatives to encourage people to use their milestones to raise funds for the fight against cancer. For instance, to mark its 10th year anniversary, Ultima Media Limited, dedicated a special edition of “Who wants to be a millionaire” to the BIG WAR Against Cancer.
Individuals have also dedicated their birthdays and other milestones to the cause from time to time. For example, Dr May Nzeribe dedicated the proceeds from the sales of his book on ethics in advertising towards supporting the work of NCPP.
This book was launched on March 27, 2012, shortly before +Dr Nzeribe succumbed to prostate cancer. The book launch was chaired by H.E. Olorogun Felix Ibru, while the Late Mallam Maitama Sule was the keynote speaker; the Governor of Lagos State was also represented at the event.
Establishment of a dedicated fundraising platform to promote united and concerted philanthropy in Nigeria, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria) and ↑↓GivingTide International.
Establishment of a structured system of community – based outreach through Mobile Cancer Centres (PinkCruise).