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Excitement as Access Bank Health Month activities begin

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.5,000 women beneficiaries targeted

 

THOMAS IMONIKHE

 

The need for sound health and wellbeing of females is the focus of  activities marking this year’s Access Bank ‘W’ Initiative Health Month aimed at substantially reducing mortality rate from preventable diseases, educate them on health-related concerns and elevate the overall quality of healthcare available to women in Nigeria.

 

No fewer than 5,000 women have been targeted to benefit from the W’ Health Month which is a major health awareness programme initiated by the bank in 2019 and had impacted more than  393,435 women so far with 3,811 of them screened for breast and cervical cancer, eye, blood pressure, body mass index among others.

 

Group Head, ‘W’ Initiative at Access Bank Plc, Abiodun Olubitan, who disclosed the figures recently said the impact recorded by the scheme which is in its third edition “has been nothing short of awe-inspiring”

 

Continuing, she said: “Staying true to our mantra to provide ‘More Than Banking’, our focus will be on providing thousands of women with accessible healthcare across eight pre-selected states of the federation. One of the objectives of the ‘W’ Initiative is to change the health narrative for many Nigerian women, especially those in underserved communities, and this is what we will be striving to achieve with the forthcoming Health Month.

 

“We have seen positive results across previous editions and we will deepen the impact this year by offering free cancer checks and educational programmes, open fertility clinics, amongst others,” she added.

 

Specifically, the programme is part of the financial institution’s  efforts to accelerate the attainment of the United Nations backed Sustainable Development Goal, SDG 3, which aims to ‘prevent needless suffering from preventable diseases and premature death by focusing on key targets that boost the health of a country’s overall population by 2030’.

 

The goal also, challenges governments to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all member countries of the UN aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least 25 per 1,000 live births.

 

Meanwhile, leveraging on its partnership with notable healthcare outfits namely Chronicare Diabetes Management Centre, Hephzibah Eye Care, Skipper Eye Q, Evercare Hospital, Grandville Medical and Laser, and the Fibroid Care Centre at Nordica, the ‘W’ Initiative will also, offer a variety of essential medical services, including free breast and cervical cancer screenings, comprehensive eye screenings, diabetes screenings as well as discounts and freebies at partnering institutions, throughout the campaign.

 

Other activity lined up for the programme is a free webinar series to be hosted by medical authorities who will provide vital information into pressing healthcare conversations such as cancer, IVF, surrogacy, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fibroids, and mental health every Thursday in the month.

 

The themes of the webinars will focus on Cancer (October 6), Fertility and Fibroid Management (October 13), Chronic Diseases, Nutrition and Weight Management (October 20), and Mental Health (October 27).

 

Earlier in March this year, Olubitan had at the sidelines of the International Women’s Day Celebration organised by Access Bank in Lagos hinted that the lender would disburse a whopping N100bn as loans to women-led businesses in 2022 to have more inclusion of such female businesses in the country.

 

According to her, the bank through the “W” Initiative had supported several women in the past eight years while no fewer than 100,000 women have benefitted about N11 billion in terms of volume from the scheme adding that the bank has several products for women which include the W power loan, Maternal Health Support Scheme (MHSS) which have birthed over 7880 babies on MHSS within three months of its  inception.

 

Access Bank Plc had in July 2014’ unveiled the “W” initiative to accelerate a new and stronger wave of hitherto few female entrepreneurs in Nigeria which is also a one-stop centre of all of the lender’s women empowerment offerings.

These include capacity building programmes exclusive to women, mentoring programmes and maternal health services, all aimed at helping to build a bigger, stronger, and more sustainable society.

 

Participating women and their families under the scheme also, have access to a wide range of opportunities that include: ‘access to loans and credit facilities; access to the ‘W’ community where they can get insights concerning family matters, managing finance and increasing productivity; access to information about several value-adding special offers for the home, including specially discounted offers as well as freebies on health, beauty, and fitness’.

 

The “W” initiative hosts ‘maternal health support scheme(MHSS), through which Access Bank supports local and international treatments for fertility, antenatal and postnatal treatment, and other special procedures such as hysterectomy (uterus removal), myomectomy (fibroid removal), dental, bariatric and orthopaedic treatment while subscribers can  access the MHS Scheme within 48 hours.

 

“W” is also about raising, grooming and sustaining in the nation’s communities, ensuring a generation of women that are inspired, healthy, connected and empowered and part of the institution’s commitment to banking women.  All the programmes  are hosted on the “W” initiative website,  www.thewcommunity.com, an online community for Access women.

 

Reacting to the initiative, a stakeholder who didn’t want to be named said the scheme aligns with the bank’s Vision which is: ‘To be the world’s most respected African bank and its Mission: ‘Setting standards for sustainable business practices that unleash the talents of our employees, deliver superior value to our customers and provide innovative solutions for the markets and communities we serve’.

 

Similarly the “W” initiative is clearly in tandem with the advocacy of Mrs. Michele Obama, former First Lady of the United States who in May 2014, two months before the birth of the life touching programme declared that: “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

 

Addressing the class of African fellows who spent six weeks in the US for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she told the guests that leadership includes creating opportunities for all people, including women and girls adding that  “any man who uses his strength to oppress women is a coward, and he is holding back the progress of his family and his country. There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”

 

 

 

 

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