Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO), an NGO, says it has reached out to about 761,327 community members in five states this year as its contribution toward creating awareness and control of cancer in the country.

The states reached under the LAPO-Community Committee for Cancer Control (C4) Project are Imo, Edo, Rivers, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The Executive Director of the organisation, Mrs Sabina Idowu-Osehobo, made the assertion at the LAPO-C4 Project Mid-Term Review meeting in Benin on Wednesday.

Idowu-Osehobo said the meeting with partner Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) was to review performance and discuss challenges as well as identify ways forward and best practices for improved performance in the second year of the project.

She said that the target reach in the first year of the programme was 640,079, but that 761, 327 community members were reached directly and a further 531,871 persons reached with information, education and enlightenment materials on cancer.

She noted that the NGO and partner CBOs were able to record modest achievements with the project between Nov. 2016 and October 2017 which was the first year of the project.

The director said the achievements were due to policy change advocacy meeting with more than 2,000 public health stakeholders to facilitate the provision of basic screening serving target communities.

Other are the training of 58 community health workers and volunteers on cancer screening as well as the provision of basic screening items and consumables to 13 health facilities.

She noted that the training of volunteers and workers was facilitated by personnel from Nigerian Medical Association and the Society for Family Health and Planned Parenthood Foundation of Nigeria.

Idowu-Osehobo said that in spite of the achievements recorded, the NGO still had major challenges which, she noted, was the lack of basic cancer screening facilities in primary health centres and the high cost of pre-malignant surgery.

“However, we have been able to address the challenges of ignorance and late detection of cancer among beneficiaries in target communities with the LAPO-C4 project,’’ she said.

She also said the sustainability of the project was very crucial to the organisation, adding that it’s sustainability strategies included establishing and building the capacity of Community Committee for Cancer Control (C4).

She said that so far, 18 community committees had been formed with plans to strengthen their capacity for effective service delivery in 2018.

The director appealed for funding from the government, donor agencies and private organisations toward the success of the project.