Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), an affiliate of the Medical Women’s
International Association (MWIA) and Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) is a nonprofit
professional organization of registered female medical doctors and dentists dedicated to
promote the health of the populace with a focus on women and children.
Health indices in Nigeria have remained poor, with unacceptably high Under-five mortality
rate and maternal mortality ratio, lending credence to the fact that the Nigerian health care
system is weak.
The Association dedicates a week annually to carry out activities that raise awareness on
prevailing preventable health issues, continuing medical education for doctors, discuss and
come up with solutions on health related policies and give free health services to the
The 2016 week had as its theme, Health Care Financing in a poor resource setting; A tool for
Universal Health Coverage. Sub themes included Non Communicable Diseases, Oral health
Day 1 – Thanksgiving Service
The program kicked off on Sunday, 9th October, 2016 with a thanksgiving service at the
Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Ohiamini Road, Elekahia where members thanked
God for another opportunity to be of service to humanity. We also received prayers and
assurances of a successful week. Thirty five medical women all decked in their gold head
gears were in attendance.
Day 2 – Media Engagements
Monday 10th of October was dedicated to media activities. The Rivers State populace was
the target of awareness on various non communicable diseases through live call-in
programs in 6 radio stations. Radio programs actually commenced the previous week and
through the entire week’s activities to raise awareness on non communicable health
conditions as well as how to change lifestyle and modifiable risks. The schedule held as
5th October – wazobia 94.1 FM – Lymphomas & Leukamias @ 11am
6th October – Nig Info 92.3 Fm – Screening for NCDs @ 2.30pm
10th Oct. – Rhythm 93.7 FM – Oral / Prostate/ Cervical CANCERS@ 9am
– Wave 97.1 FM – Diabetes Mellitus @ 10.30am
11th Oct. – Cool Fm – Bronchial Asthma @ 8am
12th Oct – Wazobia – Hypertensive Heart Diseases –
Day 3 – Opening Ceremony & Scientific sessions
The opening Ceremony which held on Tuesday, 11th October at the Auditorium of the Rivers
State House of Assembly, had in attendance 415 stakeholders and dignitaries. Chaired by
the Rivers State Commissioner for Budget & Economic Planning, (Barr) Isaac Kamalu, the
Week was declared open by the Wife of the Rivers State Governor, Hon. Justice Suzzette
Nyesom Wike who encouraged all present to support the efforts of MWAN. Also present at
the opening ceremony were the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dame Dr Ipalibo Harry-
Banigo, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Theophilus Odagme, the Rivers State
Commissioner of Social Welfare & Rehabilitation, Hon. Damiete, Vice Chairman, Nigerian
Medical Association (NMA) Rivers State Branch, Dr Obelebra Adebiyi who represented the
Chairman. The audience was drawn from a wide range of stakeholders, including Doctors
from both public and private sectors, Chief Medical Directors, Directors from the various
State Ministries, delegates from Shell Petroleum Development Company, leaders in the
pharmaceutical industry, wives of legislators, women associations and school students from
the College of Health Technology and various Secondary schools across the state.
The theme lecture was given by the Regional Community Health Manager Shell, Sub-
Saharan Africa, Dr Akinwunmi Fajola, who advocated for the implementation of Community
Health Insurance, a low-cost-high-impact model of health care financing that is feasible in a
resource limited setting. He emphasized that “the problem of the health sector is not about
resources but about resourcefulness” and sited the Community Health Insurance model run
in Obio Cottage Hospital which is based on Public-Private, People Partnership (PPPP).
The Commissioner of Health in his remarks thanked Medical Women for the timely event
and promised to work and establish “affordable Community health Insurance Scheme for
The Deputy Governor reiterated the Rivers State Government Stand “to ensure effective
healthcare service delivery, the passage of a speedy health insurance scheme bill to the
State House of Assembly” and pledged that “1000 vaccines against cervical cancer will be
provided to MWAN before the end of 2016”.
The second part of the program held as scientific session with presentations on Non
communicable diseases- You are what you eat, Bronchial Asthma and the role of the doctor
in oral Heath and cancers. It was a very enlightening session especially for the non medical
audience who asked several questions for clarification especially on asthma.
Day 4 – Continuing Medical Education / Training of Health Care Providers
The Continuing Medical Education sponsored by our partnering pharmaceutical companies,
was attended by over 198 doctors. It focused on training of Health Care Providers on prereferral
care for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Pre and post tests were carried out to
evaluate knowledge and practices. Presentations were done by experienced physicians and
obstetricians from the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and pharmaceutical
companies. Topics discussed included;
1. The role of Health Care Providers in the Management of NCDs
2. Diabetes In Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus; Clinical Importance / New
WHO Diagnostic criteria for GDM
3. Hyperglycaemia in Pregnancy: When to Diagnose; How to follow up; & Pre referral
4. Hyperglycaemia in Pregnancy: Obstetric Management during Delivery
5. The role of Basal Insulin in the Management of Gestational DM
6. Therapeutic Landscape in Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: Does treatment choice
7. Diabetes & Pregnancy in Nigeria………… Challenges, Solutions & Postnatal care
Most speakers at the scientific session and health workers training reiterated that a large
portion of non-communicable diseases, an important cause of morbidity and mortality
globally, are preventable with the adoption of healthy lifestyle.
“Outcome of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus for both mother and child is better when
hyperglyceamia is detected early and treated adequately’’…. Dr Rosemary Ogu
Day 5 – Health Awareness / Cancer Walk
Health awareness walk started at 8am from the UST Roundabout to Mile One Market with
stops at the Mile 3 and Mile One Markets to sensitize people on cancers of the breast, cervix
and prostate. Information, Education and Communication materials were also handed out
to passersby, sellers and buyers. Attendance at the walk was drawn from MWAN, women
groups and University of Port Harcourt students. See pictures below.
Day 6 – Free Medical Outreach
With support from the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), we carried out a
medical outreach at the Marine Base Community. The outreach, which held at the Blackman
Estate Town Hall, started with health awareness talks on prevention and early detection of
non communicable diseases, Breast/ Cervical/Prostate cancer as well as oral health.
Screening for Hypertension and Diabetes, breast self examination, cervical cancer screening
Also carried out were consultations, blood pressure and blood sugar checks, oral
examinations and distribution of insecticide treated nets to pregnant women and children
under five years as well as dispensing of free drugs to 150 adults and 50 children.
Day 7 – Closing Luncheon and General Meeting
Closing Luncheon and October general meeting held at the Eastern Garden Chinese
Restaurant at 1pm. The meeting had forty members in attendance and featured
appreciation of the local organizing committee, discussions on what went well and what
could have gone better was also done. It was agreed that the communiqué be disseminated
to stakeholders as an advocacy tool. Members were treated to a sumptuous three course
Chinese meal and lots of wine.
The 2016 MWAN week was a huge success! Kudos to the planning committee and the Dr
Rosemary Ogu led executives.
Our special appreciation goes to our partners for the support given towards the success of
the MWAN Week 2016.
Signed October 24th 2016
|Dr Rosemary Ogu
|Dr Vetty Agala
Secretary/ State Coordinator