Each year, on the 4th of February, World Cancer Day empowers all of us across the world to show support, raise our collective voice, take personal action to do more to fight cancer. 2019 marks the launch of the 3-year ‘I Am and I Will’ campaign, an empowering call-to-action urging for personal commitment and represents the power of individual action taken now to impact the future.
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide; 9.6 million people die from cancer every year of which 70% in low-to-middle income countries. At least one third of common cancers are preventable and up to 3.7 million lives could be saved each year by implementing resource appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection and treatment. Equal access to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care can save lives.
Doctors with Africa CUAMM is in the front line to tackle cancer in African contexts. In Ethiopia, in partnership with South Omo Zone Health Department and Federal Ministry of Health, CUAMM has implemented two projects to tackle cervical cancer, supporting the start-up of cervical cancer screening and treatment services in 14 health facilities in four districts of South Omo Zone and in Jinka Town, Ethiopia. Thanks to CUAMM’s intervention about 3500 women have been screened, 21 awareness raising campaign have been organized and 50 health staff have been trained on proper cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment. Also, the establishment of the cervical cancer screening and treatment service is ensured by the provision of medical equipment, consumable, furniture, cleaning material, registers, and educational material to all the health facilities involved in the projects.
At the core of these projects success is the community based approach. Indeed, the community education activities organized at Health Post level and the activation of community groups contribute to raise awareness on cervical cancer which is especially important in areas where preventive services are often not considered a need. Besides, awareness campaigns are organized both in rural and semi-urban areas with the help of a musical and theatrical group which helps to convey complex messages in a clear and appropriate way to the local context.