This report contains the activities of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN) from September to November 2023. During this period, the 23rd Biennial Conference and Scientific meeting was held in Port Harcourt with the investiture of the 24th National President, Prof. Rosemary Ogu and her executive. The 2023-2025 biennium focus is on enhancing leadership and on partnership for scaling up healthcare delivery in Nigeria. Strategic objectives include advocacy, capacity building, membership development, operational research, and service delivery through commemoration of health-related UN / WHO Days. MWAN Branches across the nation have continued to change guard in line with the national bye laws that stipulate handover within 3 months of the biennial conference.
In the first 100 days of the Rosemary Ogu – led administration, several national and state level activities have been implemented. Advocacy and courtesy visits to forge partnerships in Lagos and Delta States, advocacy visits to MWIA Near East and Africa Regional Vice President, MWIA President, Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi, the President of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr Uche Roland Ojinmah, the Minister for Women’s Affairs in Nigeria, the Senate Committee Chairman on Health, and the Malaysian Embassy to mention a few. Activities included events to mark the various United Nations International Days, medical outreaches, CME activities as outlined below.
1. Celebration of 2nd National Day of Older Persons: MWAN collaborated with the National Senior Citizens Centre to celebrate our elders at both federal and sub national levels. Activities continued from 1st to 5th October ranging from welfare visits, gifts, courtesy visits to symposia, media sensitization, dialogue on the rights and wellbeing of older persons. These were all appreciated by the senior citizens.
2. International Teachers’ Day with the theme “The Teachers we need for the Education we want: The global imperative to reverse Teacher Shortage” was celebrated on 5th October with press statements and appreciation messages to teachers all over the country.
3. Mental Health Awareness Day celebrated 10th October was marked with media sensitization, talk shows and awareness creation on various platforms on the theme “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right’.
4. International Day of the Girl Child celebrated 11th October annually was implemented across the country with talk shows on the theme “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our wellbeing”, donation of menstrual hygiene kits to girls in schools, media engagements and outreaches to schools, churches, and communities. The aim was to promote girls’ empowerment, education, and Rights.
5. World Menopause Day was celebrated 18th October. MWAN put out a statement and began the setup of an online help team for those interested in providing care or those who require care. This process is still ongoing as the MWAN Menopause Matters google sheet is still in circulation.
6. MWAN National Breast Cancer Awareness on Radio, TV, in churches, mosques, communities with the focus on experience sharing by survivors, and male involvement in cancer care was implemented from 18th to 25th October in collaboration with Women in Rotary. A 2 Day CME activity was also held in collaboration with NMA Benue State themed “Innovative Approaches to Combating Breast Cancer” on 19th and 20th October with participation of over 200 doctors across the country discussing strategies to improve breast cancer care in Nigeria.
7. MWAN instituted a National Dental essay competition on “Oral Health and Hygiene: Why does our Mouth Matter” for secondary school students across Nigeria with N500,000 as the star prize. There have been several oral health outreaches with dental checks, Scaling & polishing services, extractions, distribution of toothpaste and brushes to school children, communities, prisons etc.
8. MWAN Abia has during the period under review, published and presented a book entitled “Volume 2: World Events of Public Health importance”.
9. This book highlights the international days central to MWAN work such as Breast Cancer awareness and 16 Days of Activism against Sexual and Gender Based Violence. It is a good resource for every health worker.
10. MWAN National President participated in the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Nigeria (SOGON) and leveraged the opportunity to carry out a medical outreach in Kano as part of the 6 medical outreaches planned in commemoration of World Diabetes Day 2023. This event was supported by Roche who donated glucometers and strips for screening.
11. MWAN paid a Courtesy visit to the Nigerian Medical Association President, Dr Uche R. Ojinmah on 11th December 2023. MWAN is affiliated to the NMA and used the opportunity to pledge support for and collaboration with the body of doctors in the country. We used the opportunity to attend the NMA National Executive Council meeting that was held from 12th to 17th December 2023
1. MWAN National Executive Council meeting in Abuja from 18th to 20th January 2024
2. Cervical Cancer awareness activities in January 2024
3. World Cancer Day activities on 4th February 2024
4. International Day for Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Cutting on 6th February 2024
5. United Nations NGOs Commission on the Status of Women in New York March 2024