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Vanguard Newspaper’s Women roundtable inspired birth of women in Progress, says Dr Ena Onikoyi

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…unveils plan to build confidence in girls, halt rise in diabetes, hypertension

By Josephine Agbonkhese

Spokesperson, Women in Progress, WIP, a service group with focus on preventive healthcare and confidence building for girls, Dr Ena Onikoyi, has said that hundreds of girls, as well as potential victims of diabetes and hypertension, would have benefitted from the group’s intervention by the end of this year.

“Confidence building is direly needed at this time to help girls have confidence in themselves, feel equal to their counterparts across the world and fulfill dreams in life. The world is in search of confident young people and therefore, such persons are automatically at an advantage even in workplaces. Girls need to be one hundred percent confident in themselves and be able to look into the eyes of whoever is communicating with them,” said Onikoyi, a Senior Cardiologist with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, while speaking with Woman’s Own ahead of WIP’s one year anniversary coming up March 9, 2019.

She said: “We will begin by mentoring girls at public secondary school levels in Lagos State where our members basically reside. We will work with boys as well but our focus remains girls because they have been mistreated, ill-treated and abused over the years.

“On our second area of target, preventive healthcare, WIP believes that Nigeria very much still has to preach prevention concerning diabetes and hypertension; which are preventable diseases anywhere in the world. Diabetes is of three kinds; Type 1, Type 2 and then Gestational Diabetes. Type 1 hits little children and makes them rely on a constant supply of insulin for survival.

“Type 2 is preventable. Actually, this used to hit adults only but nowadays, it’s hitting young children due to excess intake of junk foods whose animal fats have been developed with estrogen.  This estrogen causes problems such as cancer, inability of the organs to respond well to sugar, and a lot more.”

Speaking on the inspiration behind the establishment of WIP, she said the organization is a product of a roundtable organized on March 8, 2018, by Vanguard Newspapers in commemoration of International Women’s Day.

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“The high-powered roundtable had as its sub-theme ‘Dearth of Mentoring in Politics and Business’ and had 13 all-female discussants. Among these women were Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, former presidential adviser; Mrs Ibiene V. A. Ogolo, Managing Director/Chief Responsibility Officer of Eko Development Company; Ambassador Folake Marcus-Bello; and my humble self.

Others were Mrs Happy Julian Uchendu, Nollywood Actress & Producer; Mrs Adora Ikuwuemesi, Director Kendor Consulting Ltd; Mrs Yvonne Ebbi, Senior Consultant,  Etiquette Place; Funke-Treasure Durodola, Assistant Director of Programmes, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria; Mrs Damilola Owolabi, CEO of Dreg Waters Petroleum & Logistics Limited and CSP Dolapo Badmus, Police Public Relations Officer, Zone 2.

“The event was particularly put together by the newspapers’ Woman’s Desk which is headed by Mrs Morenike Taire. Hence you will observe that our mission was generated from the sub-theme of ‘Mentoring’ chosen by Vanguard Newspapers for its roundtable. I and the other participants saw the need to form an alliance so as to be able to influence Nigerian girls and younger women, and that gave birth to WIP. I also would recall that Senator Florence Ita-Giwa said at the event, and I quote, that “Confidence is what is lacking in the Nigerian girl child.

“Preventive healthcare, our second area of focus, was added to our mission because personally, as a medical practitioner, I had realised diabetes and hypertension were eating deep into our society and terminating lives.

“People got their limbs amputated because they realised too late that they had diabetes. I had to start a free clinic to save others from late diagnosis,” Onikoyi elaborated.

ALSO READ: Experts raise concern over control of diabetes among Nigerians

On whether WIP which recently held a public lecture on its two target areas operates a closed or open membership, Onikoyi said: “We have added to the group two members who were not part of the roundtable that brought us together.

Two of my bankers, Access Bank and Polaris Bank, now have a representative each as members of WIP. Olori Muyibat Oyefusi also recently opened her resident in Ikeja, Lagos, to us and all of these people are now honourary members of WIP.

I believe we will continue to grow in membership and influence because all of the women Vanguard chose for her 2018 International Women’s Day Roundtable are super energetic. They chose me as Spokesperson for WIP while we are all founding members.”

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