A Nigerian health advocate Mr Runcie Chidebe has been announced as the winner of the 2020 Distinguished Advocacy Award sponsored by the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS).
Chidebe is the only Nigerian recognised among the seven scientists and advocates honoured by the IGCS globally.
Also to receive awards are Monica Bacon (Canada) and Dr Nicoletta Colombo (Italy), for Lifetime achievement Awardees, while Dr Rahel Ghebre (USA) would receive Excellence in Teaching Award.
Others are Dr Nathalie Dauphin McKenzie (USA/Haiti), Dr Gloria Salvo and Dr David Cibula for Distinguished Advocacy Award.
Mrs Khadijat Banwo-Fatai, Project Supervisor, PINK BLUE – an organisation focused on cancer advocacy, oncology training and research, in a statement said Chidebe would be honoured on September 10 at the Digital Annual Global Meeting of IGCS.
The conference scheduled to hold in Rome, Italy, would be held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic affecting the world.
Banwo-Fatai said Chidebe, 34, who would be receiving the award alongside his Project PINK BLUE, had been on the frontline of cancer control and advocacy in Nigeria, Africa and globally.
“IGCS, established in 1987, is a professional society focused on enhancing the care of women with gynecologic cancer worldwide. Chidebe is being recognised for his ‘outstanding cancer control advocacy throughout Nigeria and in global forums, including founding Project PINK BLUE- an organisation focused on cancer advocacy, oncology training and research. More so, for influencing the establishment of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, developing numerous programmes to serve most needy, and changing cancer awareness and care through Nigeria. Chidebe is a member of Nigeria’s ministerial committee on National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP 2018-2022) and known for his consistent engagement with Nigerian government on cancer care and health issue. In 2017, he founded the first breast cancer support group in Abuja which has grown into national network- connecting cancer patients across the country. In 2019, during the 2019 World Cancer Day event hosted by Project PINK BLUE, Chidebe urged the Nigerian government to act and take intentional action about cancer”.
According to her, Chidebe has been working with hundreds of women diagnosed of cancer in Nigeria.
She quoted Chidebe as assuring that he would remain focused and consistent on his advocacy to ensure indigent women impacted by cancer had a second chance in life.
“I am extremely humbled by this recognition; it is a proof that we must remain focused. In my estimation, cervical cancer to girls and women is like poliomyelitis. I want to see a day that all girls and women in Nigeria will have access to human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine that prevents cervical cancer. Nigerian and African governments need to see that our women’s future will be bleak if we do nothing”.
Chidebe had also won the 2020 International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Alumni Award for Social Innovation and Change sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
The award recognises an alumnus or alumna of the U.S. Department of State’s IVLP Program for high achievements driving social change through innovation in their home communities.