Leading energy and infrastructure conglomerate, Sahara Group, has donated N120 million towards the cause of acquiring Mobile Cancer Centers (MCC) as Nigeria continues to seek sustainable avenues of combating the deadly disease.
The MCC is a clinic on wheels with state-of-the-art facilities for screening, follow-up and treatment including surgeries for pre-cancer and early cancer cases. The center also offers screening for ten cancer-related killer diseases, including hepatitis, diabetes, and malaria, among others, ultimately helping to improve life expectancy in Nigeria where at least 100,000 cancer cases occur annually.
Sahara Group made the donation when Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and Patron of #GivingTuesday hosted stakeholders committed to tackling the cancer scourge across the nation through the supply of Mobile Cancer Centres.
In 2012, the United Nations Foundation started the #GivingTuesday initiative to drive philanthropy globally through private and public sector collaboration. The leaders of many nations, including Presidents and Governors have become patrons of this philanthropic movement. The activities of the initiative in Nigeria are powered by Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria). CECP is co-promoted by six core bodies of the Organized Private Sector (OPS Nigeria).
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole said Sahara was delighted to be part of the initiative which he described as being “crucial to the success of addressing the cancer scourge sustainably.”
“Through the interventions we continue to make via the vehicle of Sahara Foundation, we remain even more convinced that it is possible to address socio-economic and health challenges globally when willing stakeholders pool resources together. At Sahara, we are passionate about sharing and giving to causes in line with our focus on Education & Capacity Building, Health, Environment and Sustainable Community Development, that will transform lives, communities, businesses and nations. Nothing gives us more joy than touching lives since we started bringing energy to live as Sahara 20 years ago,” Cole stated.
Already, Sahara Foundation has adopted the extrapreneurship strategy to drive integrated economic empowerment programmes for 12,000,000 beneficiaries over the next four years through skills acquisition training, mentoring and access to a network of committed stakeholders. The extrapreneurship framework is “to produce a platform that finds, creates and connects young people with business interests in emerging markets.”
Over the years, Sahara has supported several cancer programmes within and outside Nigeria to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with cancer.
The aim is to enlighten the public about the disease, detect it at the early stage and promote long-term survival rates. The programmes are implemented through awareness walks, educative sessions, free screening for men and women and the provision of treatment for an agreed number of positive cases.
Some of Sahara Foundation’s cancer awareness programmes include:
Annual Sponsorship of Prostate Cancer Surgeries, Lagos
Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man’s prostate. It is one of the most common types of cancer found in men. It is more predominant among men of the black race and the risk of contracting increases as one advance in age. However, if detected early it has a better chance of successful treatment. In our strive to reduce the preventable loss of lives from the scourge, Sahara Foundation supports the Thomas John Prostate Foundation annually to provide treatment of those suffering from prostate cancer. This has benefitted nine men till date. It is worthy to note that the beneficiaries are doing well prostate health-wise.
Cancer Screening and Awareness Programme for Staff Members
This annual partnership offers free clinical breast examinations for female staff and spouses of male staff across our locations. This has provided the opportunity to learn the proper technique of Self-Breast Examination which remains the most achievable and easily teachable technique to detect breast cancer early.
Cancer Screening for Rural Women across Nigeria
In line with our commitment to constantly promote access to quality medical care for the underserved, over 5000 rural women have benefitted from the free cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment for women in the twin rural communities across Nigeria. The aim is to reduce illness and death resulting from breast and cervical cancer through organized screening to detect cases of unsuspected breast and cervical cancer in women of these communities, thus enabling early intervention.
Cancer Awareness Walk: Lagos & Abuja
Sahara Foundation has promoted Cancer Awareness through organized walks by members of staff in various locations. The main objective of the programme is to create more awareness of the deadly scourge and screen members of the public at no cost to them. This created more awareness about cancer and showed support for those living with it. More awareness was created about the dreaded disease.
Paddle for Cancer Dragon Boat Festival, Geneva, Switzerland
The aim was to raise more awareness about cancer, encourage those living with disease to live active lives and more importantly provide a message of hope for those living with the scourge and to those who support them. This was in partnership with the English Speaking Cancer Association (ESCA), Geneva, Switzerland.