As the world marks Women's History Month, we celebrate two of our own - Osezusi Bolodeoku and Dr. Omolola Salako - two women who are breaking the culture of silence regarding Autism and Cancer, respectively.
In Nigerian society, parents who have children with special needs seldom talk about it, due to the cultural stigma associated with it, and also because such conditions are rarely diagnosed correctly when symptoms first start to show. As a result, these children rarely get the help they need on time.
Osezusi Bolodeoku , a certified Special Educational Needs expert and Advanced Certified Autism Specialist, is doing her part to ensure that neurodiverse children get the help they need to thrive.
She is founder and CEO of FOS Creative Arts Studio, an inclusive creative center that helps to nurture creativity, social skills, emotional intelligence, and other practical skills that all children need to succeed and thrive in the world. The facility is also a SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator) Centre providing support for children and families with SEN (Special Education Needs) including Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia, and other neurodiverse needs.
She has helped countless children with special education needs and their parents, with the necessary tools they need to thrive.
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Nigeria. In 2020, more than 28,000 Nigerian women were diagnosed with breast cancer, resulting in over 14,000 deaths.
Unfortunately, despite all efforts, many women stay without access to quality cancer care or drop out of treatment because of the high cost of care.
Furthermore, Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people, yet; there are only 81 cancer doctors nationwide.
In order to ease the burden of cancer care in Nigeria, Dr. Omolola Salako founded Oncopadi Digital Cancer Clinic , a platform that connects cancer patients in Africa to oncologists, hospitals and coping resources in real time.The digital patient navigation platform helps cancer patients and their loved ones to organize their journey with accurate information, and a supportive community.
She is also the founder of NGO, Sebeccly Cancer Care whose vision is to care and empower cancer patients to fulfil their survivorship potential while ending inequality in cancer care.
Omolola decided to establish Sebeccly Cancer Care after losing a loved one in 2003 to cancer. She became inspired, after the sad event, to support cancer patients regardless of the uncertainty that followed a pursuit in a career in oncology.