By Njide Ezeonyejiaku
The grand finale of the 3rd edition of the Anambra Schools Arm Our Youths (ArOY) Health Challenge sponsored by OCI Foundation International has ended in Awka with a call on the students and other people in the society to join hands in closing the care gap against cancer.
The event held at Igwebuike Grammar School, Awka attracted the Officers of the State Post Primary Schools Service Commission, PPSSC, 12 finalists from the 265 public Senior Secondary Schools that participated across the 6 zones in the State, school principals and the 5 contestants.
In an opening remark, Chairman at the occasion, Barr. Peter Elioku commended the Founder and President of the OCI Foundation for his vision and zeal to help in reducing the burden of breast and cervical cancers in Nigeria, from the teen age.
While commending the PPSSC, Awka for providing the enabling environment for the vision of the Foundation to materialize, Barr. Elioku charged the students to endeavour to learn something new from the event which they can step down to their family members.
In a keynote address, the President and Founder, OCI Foundation International, Associate Professor Chris Ifediora, represented by Mrs Obiamaka Aniedozie expressed delight with the progress the ArOY Health Campaign is making in Anambra State since it was initiated in 2019 across the State in collaboration with the PPSSC, where the teaching of breast and cervical cancers preventive messages were introduced into the academic curricular of the senior secondary schools in the State.
According to the OCI Foundation President, their goal was to offer correct knowledge of early symptoms, risk factors and preventive techniques against breast and cervical cancer among other objectives to teens to arm them all.
Also speaking, the PPSSC Chairman, Prof. Nkechi Ikediugwu, represented by the Board Member, Nnewi Zone, Dr. Ernest Chukwuma noted that the State government is repositioning the public schools from the Basic to the senior secondary schools, adding that the old paradigm has been overturned with the new era of punctuality, consistent monitoring and evaluation of teachers to ensure positive attitude to work as well as adequate teacher- pupil and student ratio with the 5,000 newly recruited teachers and the plan for extra 3,000 teachers soon to be recruited.
She also commended the OCI Foundation for empowering our Youths with knowledge about their health and appealed that Prostrate Cancer knowledge be included in the curriculum to save the men.
Some of the students, including Chiamaka Ejeakanonu, Caleb Udezue, and Chibundo Nwadiugwu expressed joy with the OCI Foundation’s interest in stemming down the burden of cancer through the ArOY Health Campaign and extended their gratitude to their school management for the opportunity to learn.
In a vote of thanks, the Domestic Liaison Officer of OCI Foundation International, Mrs Imelda Emeka appreciated the PPSSC for their role in driving the teaching of anti cancer techniques in the State schools and paid glowing tribute to the President of OCI Foundation for his relentless efforts in arming our Youths with knowledge.
Highpoint of the event was the quiz competition in which Chibundo Nwadiugwu of Maria Regina Model Comprehensive Secondary School, Nnewi emerged the 1st; Maryann Okoye of Community High School, Nsugbe came 2nd and James Ezeh of Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha came 3rd.
Welcome song, playlet and presentation of prizes also featured.