In continuation of its school-based awareness outreach to schools in Benue State to spread the message of the forthcoming Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, Eunice Spring of Life Foundation (ESLF) today visited 3 more schools in Makurdi namely Arabic Primary School, U.B.E Junior Secondary School, Wadata and Good News Schools, North Bank with representatives of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and John Snow International in attendance.
Unbundling HPV and its devastating effects on humans, member of the Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Mrs. Maria Unaji and a health personnel, Mrs. Catherine Isa pointed out that the Federal Government has made provision for preventive vaccines that fight the virus pointing out that the vaccines were free-of-charge, safe for use and targeted at only teenage girls of ages 9 to 14 for now.
Delivering the HPV information in English Language with good interpretation in Hausa Language, Mrs. Isa encouraged the children to relay the message to their parents and guardians and prepare to partake in the vaccination come October 25, 2023.
In their responses, Aliyu Ibrahim of Primary 5, Grace Odeh and Uchara Grace both of JS 3 of UBE confirmed that they had learnt something new and were armed with the knowledge they consider to be beneficial.
On her part, Coordinating Programme Officer for Health at ESLF, Karen Erdoo Yankyaa pointed out that ESLF works with children by supporting, educating and empowering them through the health, education and economic empowerment programmes to enable them lead better lives.
She said the Foundation’s Health and Skills Facility known as ESLF-HSF has a Maternal and Child Hospital to cater for mother and child, a Skills Acquisition Centre for youth to acquire skills that would make them employable and a Rehabilitation Unit to treat persons with health challenges arising from drug abuse and related ailments.
The Programme Officer added that in view of the fact that the ESLF Founder, Dr. Eunice Ortom was a recognised champion of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) the Foundation remains committed to teaching young ones to stay away from alcohol and drug and substance abuse.
On their part, Dr. Maryam Yakubu and Barr. Hembafan Utange who both dwelt on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) such as physical, assault, verbal abuse, confinement, rape which may lead to infection and other complications, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), domestic and intimate relationship violence, harassment, deliberate pestering called for perpetrators of SGBV to be reported to appropriate authorities. They prescribed preventive measures such as women and girls empowerment, cash support for women, engaging male allies and women inclusion in decision making among others to curb SGBV.
On their part, Vice Chairperson of the ESLF Board of Trustees, Mrs. Saratu Orga and Dr. Comfort Abaa also on the ESLF team appreciated the schools and partnering organisations and urged those in attendance to take the HPV message home to their peers urging those within the age range to avail themselves of the opportunity of protecting themselves from cancer through vaccination against HPV.
The ESLF campaign to schools continues tomorrow.