Wings for containing cancer spread in Africa
Barely a month after African First Ladies met in Windhoek Namibia to discuss ways of controlling cervical, breast and prostate cancer, their efforts have been boosted by George W. Bush Institute (GWBI).
Through President George .W. Bush, the Institute announced the launch of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon in Ethiopia and Namibia. It also introduced the first group of ambassadors for the public-private sector partnership.
President Bush and first ladies from the two countries made the announcement at the summit attended by first spouses from across Africa, an event to complement President Barrack Obama’s hosting of heads of state and governments from the continent.
August 2014 will go down in history as the month when Obama welcomed leaders from across the African continent to the United States capital, Washington DC for a three-day US-Africa leaders’ Summit, the first event of such a kind.
The meeting has also been recorded as the largest gathering of African leaders in USA to discuss the continents’ partnership with the most powerful country in the world.
According to a press release from the White House, the Summit was built on the President’s trip to Africa in the summer of 2013 and aimed at strengthening ties between the United States of America and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions.
Obama invited all African heads of state or government in good standing with the United States and the African Union to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit.
Also in attendance was the African Union Chairperson,Her Excellency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The summit provided a perfect opportunity for the leaders to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members and other key leaders, including business executives from the US and Africa, Members of Congress and civil society organisations. Among other things, the leaders discussed how to encourage progress in key areas that Africans define as critical for the future of the continent: expanding trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation.
Though there was no specific agenda about women issues, African women still have something to smile about.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is a global health partnership founded by the George W. Bush Institute, the US Government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).
The partnership — which has helped screen over 100,000 women for cervical cancer in Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia in the last three years — will build on existing healthcare programmes in Ethiopia and Namibia to add interventions to prevent screen for and treat cervical cancer.
The disease continues to be the number-one cancer killer of women in sub-Saharan Africa, exacerbated by its connection with HIV.
Women living with HIV are four-to-five times more likely to contract cervical cancer than their HIV-negative peers. In Ethiopia, cervical cancer is the most-common female cancer, while in Namibia it is the second most common.
According to a press release from Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon titled Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon helps accelerate life-saving cervical cancer screening in Ethiopia and Namibia, the organisation has received more funding to achieve this goal.
GlaxoSmithKline has committed $2 million to support development and execution of a national cervical cancer strategy, implementation of a demonstration programme to vaccinate girls against the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer) and expansion of screening and cryotherapy services in Ethiopia.
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation will make an initial contribution of $200,000 for grants to two community partners in Ethiopia to begin to develop a grassroots community outreach strategy on cervical cancer and help build capacity.
The American Cancer Society will commit $85,000 to help train local Ethiopian organisations in awareness-raising, cancer planning, community-mobilisation as well as messaging for cervical and breast cancer.
GE Healthcare will contribute $500,000 to provide advisory support and technical assistance to the Ethiopian-American Doctors Group in the planning, design and development of the country’s first state-of-the-art cancer centre in Addis Ababa and to a partnership between PEPFAR and GE Healthcare in Ethiopia to train biomedical technicians to improve the quality of cancer diagnosis.
The International Atomic Energy Agency through their Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy will assist selected Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon countries including Namibia and Ethiopia in building capacity to fight breast and cervical cancer to ensure that women get timely access to appropriate diagnosis and treatment service.
The Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership has donated $72,000 to equip and train the first Namibian health workers to perform the “See-and-Treat” approach for cervical cancer.
To further expand advocacy for the work of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon on the African continent, President Bush also announced the partnership’s first Ambassadors. The inaugural group includes: Bethlehem Alemu, Founder and Managing Director, soleRebels (Ethiopia); Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Chairman, Econet Wireless (originally from Zimbabwe); Ambassador Gertrude Ibengwe Mongella, stateswoman (Tanzania); and Isha Sesay, Anchor and Correspondent, CNN International (United Kingdom/Sierra Leone).
The members of the group will use their personal platforms and networks to encourage social change, public support and national policies to eliminate cervical cancer and reduce deaths from breast cancer.
They will also join with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partners to spread positive messages that empower and drive women to seek care for themselves and their daughters, including screening, treatment and vaccinations..