Toronto, Canada – May 1, 2023 – The World Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Coalition) has announced Her Excellency Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu has joined the organization to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer, tackle low health literacy, and empower women in Nigeria and across the world to take action to improve equitable access to high-quality, affordable care. The announcement comes ahead of World Ovarian Cancer Day, a flagship awareness-raising initiative in which approximately 200 organisations from around the world raise their voices in solidarity in the fight against ovarian cancer.
If access to high-quality, affordable care does not improve, the number of new cases of ovarian cancer in Nigeria is estimated to increase by 83% from 2020 to 2040.[i] Sadly, the majority of women who have ovarian cancer live in low- and middle-income areas where access to access to treatment is extremely limited by inefficient infrastructure, inadequate resources, and cultural barriers. It can be impossible or financially crippling for many women and their families to obtain appropriate care.
“I believe that we must be our sisters’ keepers and that when we come together, great things can happen,” said Her Excellency Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, M.D. “Through my work at the Union for International Cancer Control, my own Medicaid Cancer Foundation, and now as World Ovarian Cancer Coalition Ambassador, I hope to add to the global conversation in addressing the gaps in the continuum of care. Only through collaboration between advocates, policymakers, and the private sector will we accelerate change.”
Her Excellency Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu is a Consultant Paediatrician and an advocate for women’s health. With a particular focus on cancer, she is often referred to as the mother of health in her native land. In her role as the First Lady of Kebbi State, Dr. Shinkafi-Bagudu works with the state ministries of health, education, and women affairs to implement programmes to sustainably improve menstrual hygiene, girl-child education, and economic empowerment of women, and put an end to gender-based violence. In her role as Ambassador, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu will help the Coalition in his efforts to empower the ovarian cancer community in Nigeria and across the globe through collaboration, knowledge, and action.
“If we don’t take action now, the lives of hundreds of thousands of women in Africa will be lost over the next two decades. Ovarian cancer must become a priority so that the increasing burden and challenges
of successfully treating women with ovarian cancer are recognised and planned for at local, regional, and national levels,” said said Runcie C.W. Chidebe, Coalition Board Member and Executive Director of Project PINK BLUE. “Advocacy takes time but it works. As a Board Member of the Coalition, I am delighted that Her Excellency Dr. Shinkafi-Bagudu will be supporting the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition as a global ambassador; an opportunity to activate global leaders, advocate for the integration of ovarian cancer into national cancer policies, and raise her voice to support women battling with ovarian cancer globally.”
To learn more about the Coalition, please visit worldovariancancercoalition.org.