Winners emerge at endometriosis essay contest in Lagos

Aisha Tijani, a student at Crescent College, Victoria Island, has emerged as the overall winner of the sixth edition of Nigeria Endometriosis Support Group Essay Competition for female students SS1 to SS3 from all secondary schools in Lagos State.

The essay contest which aims to showcase students’ knowledge of endometriosis was organized by Nordica Fertility Center in collaboration with AstraZeneca.

Participating students were asked to write an essay on the topic, “Increasing Awareness of Endometriosis in Nigeria”.

The winners, including Udom God’sFavor from Prudence City College as the first runner-up and Oluwafemi Olafuyi from Rainbow College as the second runner-up, received cash prizes for helping to raise awareness about endometriosis in Nigeria.

Contest winner Tijani, who couldn’t hide her joy at the awards ceremony in Lagos, said the contest enlightened her about endometriosis.

She said, “As the winner, I now know more about endometriosis and I plan to create a social media platform where I can talk about endometriosis conditions as well as other health problems affecting women.

“The contest enlightened me about endometriosis and also taught me that I always have to do research. I talk to some of my classmates, most of them were enlightened because they didn’t know much about the condition.

Tijani acted as AstraZeneca’s national one-day manager in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl.

Between 11:30 p.m. and 12:00 p.m., she joined the AstraZeneca Global Girl Child meeting where she had a zoom meeting with other girls from countries like Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.

Announcing the winners, the Nordica Fertility Centre’s chief executive, Dr Abayomi Ajayi, said the essay contest was primarily aimed at raising awareness among young women because “we also know they have their own share of influence.”

The gynecologist noted that endometriosis respects no child, adding that raising awareness will also help doctors diagnose and manage patients with the disease.

Dr Ajayi said: “We want them to understand the problem from secondary school, which usually starts around that age. People in SS1 and SS2, that’s when they start menstruating. This is an important age to start spreading awareness about endometriosis.

“We are trying to develop endometriosis advocates among students in all secondary schools in Lagos State.

“Even so far, all over the world and not just in Nigeria, many doctors miss the diagnosis of endometriosis because in endometriosis, the symptoms are here and there.

“It’s not like malaria where you have a fever and a headache. It depends on where the deposit is.

“So you might have someone coughing up blood who has endometriosis. You might have someone who has menstrual pain and who has endometriosis.”

According to the fertility expert, endometriosis is a condition that normally develops inside the uterus and outside the uterus, adding that the symptoms of the condition vary.

“The most important thing is a high index of suspicion and that is if you don’t think about it, you’re not going to see it. And that’s why awareness is very important.

“We started the endometriosis awareness campaign 17 years ago and hold annual events. This is the sixth edition of the essay contest and we hope it will become national over time,” he added.

In her address, the Commissioner for Education of Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo commended Nordica Fertility Center for its initiative and efforts to raise awareness about endometriosis among teenage girls and women in the state .

Adefisayo, who was represented by the Ministry’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Dr. Olasunkanmi Odesanya, said the competition will add value to the health of women and girls in the state through awareness raising.

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