By Anayo Okoli & Chinazom Abugu

IGBO women have been asked to observe good diet routine to avoid common diseases like ovarian and breast cancer. This was contained in a lecture to mark this year’s Women August Return, by the Catholic Women Organisation, CWO, across Igbo land.

*Ajatanigu women

In Enugu State, the August meeting programmes, run by various women groups in churches across the state went beyond the normal donations/fund raising and discussions on church and community development issues to seeking ways to tackle various health problems, especially as they pertain to  present day Nigeria where various life-threatening diseases are eating deep into the lives of women and dampening happiness in families.

The organizers of the meeting at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Olido, in Igbo-Eze North council area of the state, embedded a presentation on alternative medicare into their programme with the theme: “nature and the cure of disease.”

One of the Resource Persons, Mrs. Ozioma Nwangwu, tasked women at Olido on the need to take various fruit and vegetables like: carrot, water melon, cucumber, cabbage among others saying  “they are very nutritious supplement for and against cancer.” Nwangwu, equally spoke on the need for increased intake of water as it helps to clean one’s system and keep it hydrated as well as the various exercises they should engage in regularly: such as  jogging from end to end long breathing etc.

Preventing sickness

Mrs. Nwagwu further said, “As much as possible, try to avoid taking drugs, the chemicals present in drugs will only relieve pains but not cure the root of the sickness entirely,” even as she emphasized the need to concentrate more on natural edibles so as to prevent sickness as well as  use drugs only in cases of emergency.

On their own part, the president of the CMO (Home and Abroad) in Olido Community, Mrs. Mary Ugwuanyi, and other members agreed that the experience had offered a turning point in their overall life habit, especially in controlling what members of their families ate. The resource person had told the women that “your life is what you eat” as she painted a frightening picture of what unwholesome feeding habits could do to the lives of people.

Elsewhere at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Umulokpa in Uzo-Uwani Local Council Area of the state, wife of Enugu State governor, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, took part in this year’s August meeting held by the CMO of the church. Apart from also counselling the women on the need to take good care of their health and that of members of their families, she donated food and other items to the indigent women and other vulnerable persons in the area.

She also used the occasion of the August meeting to visit women groups in Aku in Igbo-Etiti local government areas of the state. Mrs Ugwuanyi also visited Ebe in Udi local council, among other areas across the three senatorial zones of the state.

Apparently bothered by the fate suffered by women in the face of growing cases of dangerous diseases affecting them, her pet project – Ugo Touch of Life – within the period also embarked on screening women, children and the elderly of silent-killer diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, tuberculosis, heart problems and the likes. Drugs were administered on patients free of charge. Expectant mothers equally received birth kits. Really, Enugu women had eventful August meetings this year.

UNICEF/NOA use August meetings to educate Abia rural women on healthcare. In Umuahia, the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund, UNICEF, in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency, NOA, vigorously toured many rural communities in Abia State to give health talks to the rural women during the just concluded Women August meeting.

UNICEF/NOA officials who went round the communities spoke to the rural women on health issues such need for cleanliness, stoppage of open defecation which poses a serious threat to their health and that of children and also on the need to boost their children’s birth registration.

Addressing over 700 women at Inyom Ozu hall, Ozu Abam in Arochukwu council, Abia State director of NOA, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Uduma, described women as agents of change and urged them to motivate their husbands to build modern toilets in their respective homes so as to curb  epidemics in their area.

The NOA State director who spoke through the chief orientation and mobilization officer, Elder Gabriel Ojeka, harped on the need for the women to embrace regular hand washing practice, immunize their children, adopt exclusive breastfeeding approach etc as part of Essential Family Practices (EFPs).

Speaking to women of Amangwu-Ajatanigu Development Union, Ikwuano council area, Dr. Uduma explained to them the need for birth registration, saying that their children’s birth certificates are officially recognized for identities and data used by the Federal Government for the purpose of planning and allocations to states and local governments.

According to her, UNICEF was working towards making birth certificate a compulsory requirement for school enrolment and urged the women groups to help sensitize families on the importance of registering their children at births.

UNICEF/NOA officials also used the forum to further educate the rural women on the essence of regular hand washing practices; ante and post natal service; exclusive breastfeeding, use of insecticidal nets, personal hygiene, immunization, among others, as part of Essential Family Practices (EFPs).

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