Friday, December 28, 2018

Program seeks to persuade Somali women to get cancer screenings

When Wali Dirie's mother was in her 50s, her doctor advised her to start going in for regular mammograms. So she went.

But when it came time to undress for the exam, she stopped.
"She asked me my thoughts and my decisions, and I encouraged her, if she doesn't want to do it we can stop," Dirie said.
That was a few years ago. Now Dirie feels differently after attending a workshop organized by Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Minneapolis on cancer screening disparities.

"Allah sent the illness, and also sent the cure," he said. "You have to know going to the doctor is part of what Allah made for us."
Wali Dirie has gone to cancer screening disparity workshops at mosque.
Wali Dirie has participated in cancer screening disparity workshops and said he now has the tools to have fruitful conversations with relatives about preventive care. 
University of Minnesota researchers have partnered with the Minneapolis mosque to address alarmingly low rates of cancer screenings in the Somali community. Misconceptions and cultural barriers often keep people from seeking prevention.

For the past two years, Dar Al-Hijrah has held workshops, presentations and conversations with focus groups to better understand why some fear the testing, especially for treatable cancers like early stage breast cancer. The program aims to educate the community and dispel some of the fears connected to religion.
"Some Somali women, they don't participate in this screening because of maybe the modesty issue because of the faith," said Imam Sharif Mohamed. "And I think that's not right."

In Somalia, like other developing countries, preventive care isn't available or isn't a priority. A cancer diagnosis carries a stigma in Somalia. Community members say people don't want to be labeled as cancer patients because that automatically means death is imminent and unavoidable. Some believe it's their destiny to become ill, and prevention would be interrupting God's plan.
Mohamed disagrees.
He's been telling mosque members that disease may be destiny, but so are treatment and early prevention.
"The faith came to this world to support and help the mankind," he said. "Islam as a religion, it came here to support the wellbeing of the person. Whether it's your physical health, or emotional health, or mind body spirit."

'Worryingly low' cancer screenings

University of Minnesota researcher Rebekah Pratt has found that Somali women have the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world. The screening rates for breast and cervical cancers, however, are alarmingly low.
The national rate is 72 percent for mammography and 82 percent for pap tests. But when U of M researchers began digging into the numbers, they found that the mammography rate was just 8 percent among Somali women in low-income parts of the state.
Pratt said that while rates have risen, disparities still exist. According to the most recent data, urban clinics show breast screening rates between 18 and 25 percent for Somali women, and around 25 percent for cervical cancer.

"Breast and cervical cancer stand out, they got my attention when we started doing this work," said Pratt, an assistant professor. "The rates are worryingly low and it means whatever we're doing now it's not working well enough. We're not meeting the community where they're at in terms of the questions that they have, the information that they know."
A maroon-and-gold poster hangs at Dar Al-Hijrah mosque's second story prayer room. It's filled with information about the mosque and the U's research and recommendations in hopes of improving the rates.
"It's not only a place that people come and pray," Mohamed said.

Positive feedback

Researchers and faith leaders have gotten preliminary results from the program that show a change in attitude about cancer screening. They're also seeking additional funding from the National Institutes of Health to conduct data analysis.
It will take time before they're able to conclude whether a program like this makes a difference in cancer screening rates in the Somali community.
In the meantime, Pratt said, the community appreciates incorporating faith and cultural aspects in the conversations. One man said that, before participating in the program, he was under the impression a cancer screening was something that "implanted cancer in you," she said.
"I don't think he's alone in thinking it," Pratt said. "It's a big leap of faith if your main model of attending the doctor is I go when I have symptoms."
Pratt added that many clinic providers may be unfamiliar with the cultural reasons behind not seeking prevention.
"Maybe if you've seen a lot of patients that do have a lot of knowledge, maybe you forget to go back a step. This might be the first time someone has heard about cancer screening at all," she said. "Working in the context of the mosque might be the best way to do that."

Ethiopia launched new guideline for reaching missed tuberculosis cases

The Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, the National TB Program in collaboration with WHO and partners conducted a workshop from December 17 to 18, 2018 to launch a new guideline for reaching missed tuberculosis cases.
TB patients in a hospital
In her opening remark, Dr Lia Tadesse, State Minister of Health, noted TB is one of the priority diseases closely supported in the Ministry of Health and the MoH continues to work very closely with partners, private sectors, civic societies, universities and other important stakeholders in order to identify missed TB cases, abort TB transmission to familiies, and public as well.
The new guideline on 'Reaching Missed TB Cases in Ethiopia' utilized the generic guidance on prioritization developed by WHO and STOP TB partnership. It assisted to identify specific key populations for TB, understand their vulnerabilities to TB and enable them to develop specific interventions to ensure key populations are reached with appropriate services.
Dr Ismael Hassen, , made a key note address on behalf of Dr Esther Aceng-Dokotum, Communicable Diseases Cluster Coordinator, and reiterated WHO's commitment in providing a strategic support to the ministry of health in the fight against TB. He said "WHO will continue supporting the National TB Program in collaboration with partners, Regional health Bureau and other line Ministries to achieve the ambitious goal of Ending TB epidemic by 2035 and TB elimination by 2050."
Participants of a workshop from December 17 to 18, 2018 to launch a new guideline for reaching missed tuberculosis cases
Ethiopia is one of the 30 High burden countries for Tuberculosis including Drug resistant Tuberculosis. According to 2018 global TB report, 117,705 TB cases were reported in the country. The TB treatment coverage for Drug sensitive TB is 68%. And only 25% of Estimated RR MDR TB (Rifampicin Resistance and Multi Drug Resistance TB ) cases are detected and treated.
WHO is providing technical assistance to the Federal Ministry of Health and Regions through strengthening technical coordination platforms; adapting and revising guidelines, standards; promoting and supporting of evidence generation, dissemination including survey, and surveillances; monitoring of health trends and assisting the country to improve access to quality TB diagnosis, treatment and care.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Nigerian student who broke a 28-year-old record in medicine graduates with 12 distinctions

Aarinola Olaiya recently joined an elite list of young scholars around the world who have earned incredible feats in academics.
Aarinola Olaiya emerged as the best graduating school from the Obafemi Awolowo University. Pic credit: Twitter (Odeyele Ayodeji)
The native of Usin Ekiti of Ekiti State in Nigeria, broke a record last year by being the first student in 28 years to have a Distinction in Surgery at the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, at a major Nigerian university – Obafemi Awolowo University, in Ife, Osun.
Born into relative wealth, her father was a lawyer and her mother, a head teacher. Hence, life while growing up was not that tough for Olaiya and all that was expected of her was to work hard towards success.
In 2011, she gained admission into Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to study medicine and surgery. With hard work and sacrifice, she scored a Cumulative Grade Point (CGPA) of 4.74 in her first year. In her second year, she scored a distinction in anatomy, medical biochemistry and physiology.
The third year saw the young genius scoring distinction in medical biochemistry and pharmacology, and in the fourth year – distinction in pathology and pharmacology.
In the fifth year, she had already been noted for breaking the educational status quo, as she had a distinction in obstetrics and gynaecology, mental health and dermatology, and in the sixth year – distinction in surgery.
Due to this feat, that is, distinction in 11 courses, Olaiya achieved a feat in medicine and community health that was last recorded about 28 years ago at her university.
Praises started pouring in for the 24-year-old prodigy who subsequently described her achievement as just a coincidence and a privilege.
Olaiya and family. Pic credit: Twitter (Odeyele Ayodeji)
“I must say that it is absolutely wonderful to be opportune to have achieved this level of success throughout all my years of academics. In fact, breaking the 28 years record was just a coincidence and a privilege because I never set out to break any record. I was just preoccupied with doing what I felt was expected of me & every other thing fell in line.
“Early in life, I have always had this drive to be great. There has always been a part of me with this yearning to be impactful wherever I find myself. I sincerely believe there is a spirit of excellence at work in me. Also, I have always been thorough and dedicated to my academic pursuits, always putting in my very best at every stage of my life. I pride myself as a focused, goal – oriented young individual,” Olaiya told Sunday Vanguard in an interview.
She further indicated that she did not “do any magic” while in medical school, except she just “loves to get better day by day”.
I strive to beat my former achievements constantly and, for me, mediocrity is not an option. I can really be meticulous and serious with my studies. The encouragement I received from my parents, my siblings and teachers went a long way in encouraging me to always be better…
From her basic school days at Peace and Joy Model School between 1998 and 2003 at Ikere-Ekiti, Olaiya did not joke with her studies and she eventually won her first scholarship in primary four as the best student among her mates.
She left the primary school as the best pupil in 2003 and then headed to the Federal Government Girls’ College, Efon-Alaaye Ekiti where she had her secondary education and completed in 2009.
“I was appointed the Assistant Head Girl in my final year and carted away 22 prizes on our graduation day. I was also given the award of the most versatile student by my then school Principal,” the educational genius said.
Last week, the record-breaking student emerged as the best graduating school from the Obafemi Awolowo University and following her academic excellence, she was honoured by the governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi.
Olaiya with the Governor. Pic credit:
Governor Fayemi, who attended the university’s 43rd convocation, commended Olaiya for her hard work and excellence and promised to support her in her future academic pursuits.
I want to pledge before this august audience and the council, though she hasn’t told me what she wants to do, but whatever she tells me, she can consider it done. If she wants to go into housemanship, residency or even a PhD in Medicine, we will support her. It is very important to us that we restore the values for which we are known in Ekiti. We are not a state of stomach infrastructure,” the governor said.
Olaiya’s accomplishment comes on the back of similar prodigies whose jobs are to break the educational status quo.
In 2006, Nkemehule Karl Omebere-Iyari, a Nigerian, received his PhD in chemical engineering from University of Nottingham, UK, when he was 22. An old student of Kings College, Lagos, Omebere-Iyari had 8 As in his WAEC result at age 16. He emerged the best graduating student in chemical engineering that year.
Zimbabwean scholar, Musawenkosi Saurombe also made headlines in 2017 when she graduated with a PhD in Industrial Psychology from South Africa’s North-West University (NWU).
Olaiya’s awards. Pic credit: Odeyele Ayodeji (Twitter)
For Maths genius, Olaoluwa Hallowed Oluwadara, he became a doctor of Mathematics at the age of 24, with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5. The Ekiti State indigene born in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR) graduated from the University of Lagos as the Best Graduating PhD holder.
Meanwhile, here is how people are reacting to Olaiya’s amazing achievement:
This is Dr. Aarinola Olaiya Blessing who broke 28 years of record in Obafemi Awolowo University College of Medicine, Ile-Ife and in the Nigeria Medical School, having graduated with 12 distinctions and with 17 prizes.

Twitter, let celebrate her,this is a great feat.

We can't show you everything!

We automatically hide photos that might contain sensitive content.
View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
This is the kind of child that makes a parent to grow taller than their normal/true height.
See AKONGWALE's other Tweets
It's sometimes not by hours ooo, this is not saying she didn't put in hours though but some other people may have even put in more hours.

I had some class mates in this same Ife that can cram a whole text in record time when many of us are still trying to figure out few pages.
See Mamora Olaoluwa's other Tweets
This girl is one of the reasons I didn't go for my convocation. Someone will receive 17 awards, another person will be clapping for 30 minutes. 😂😂😂😂
See Amaka that doesn’t disappoint's other Tweets
She has always been a bright and extremely brilliant individual, she was my senior in primary school, attended the same secondary school before she left in SS1, she's also my friend's elder sister. I'm not surprised, I'm really happy and excited for her, she deserves all that.
See Zuriel's other Tweets
This is Dr. Aarinola Olaiya Blessing who broke 28 years of record in Obafemi Awolowo University College of Medicine, Ile-Ife and in the Nigeria Medical School, having graduated with 12 distinctions and with 17 prizes.

Twitter, let celebrate her,this is a great feat.

We can't show you everything!

We automatically hide photos that might contain sensitive content.
View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter