GENEVEIVE NNANJI NOW AN AMBASSADOR
With the month of October dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness Raising Campaign, the Pink Charity Fund in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, (MOHS) last Friday, 27th October intensified the campaign by holding a Breast Cancer Awareness Conference at the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building, Brookfields, in the west-end of Freetown
In her opening and welcome address, the Founder of the Pink Charity Fund, Isha Tejan-Cole, expressed delight over what she referred to as "yet another worthy cause particularly for the womenfolk."
Breast Cancer, she said, is real, pointing out the dreadful nature of the disease which according to her, cost the lives of three of her friends in a spate of three years.
The fact is that our women are dying in increasing numbers. Statistically, there are no fixed numbers, but according to doctors here, breast cancer cases have risen quite significantly in women between the ages of 40-60," she noted
Speaking on how much people are aware of the reality of the disease, she asked: "How many of us can honestly say that we really know about our breast? How many of us know when our breasts are healthy and when they are not?" She stressed that so many people are dying unnecessarily of breast cancer because according to her, "We simply do not know what to feel for and how to check ourselves until it is too late."
She asured that her organization will collaborate with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to sensitize women nationwide about breast cancer.
She went on to detail some of her organization's objectives which include the provision a free Mammogram testing facility to be located at the Conaught hospital and to organise training programmes. "Ultimately, we hope to be able to provide the complete detection, cure and further treatment services at the Conaught hospital," she assured.
In her statement, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mrs. Abator Thomas, expressed her ministry's willingness to work in collaboration with the Pink Charity Fund in order "to recognise and highlight the plight of women all over the world".
Breast cancer, she said, is the most common cancer in women, pointing out that in Sierra Leone many women are suffering from it, and a higher percentage are not aware of breast cancer. She however noted that though some have been treated successfully, they continue to live in fear of its recurrence, while others have unfortunately died.
"As the Minister of Health, I will strive to support programmes to address the breast cancer situation in Sierra Leone," she assured.
The Pink Charity Fund Ambassador, renowned Nigerian-born film star, Genevieve Nnanji, who served as Special Guest and Patron, also pledged her support to the cause.
According to the film star, breast cancer is a worldwide disease and is a risk to every woman. She however noted that the greatest risk is when one is ignorant of its existence. She pledged her support and preparedness to support the campaign and also assured that she will always be available when ever called upon to campaign on the issue in Sierra Leone.
In his remarks, the Honorary Consul General for Norway and Sweden, Arne-Birgen Johansen, also pledged his continued support to the cause.
Other medical practitioners like Dr. Mbaimba Bayoh, who also served as Chairman of occasion, Dr Gordon Harris and Dr. Bernard Fraser, also took turns in making well-researched presentations on the reality of breast cancer. They all expressed their readiness to work hand in glove with the Pink Charity Fund and MOHS to ensure success of the campaign.
A breast cancer awareness song titled: "You've got a friend," done by Sam Jones of the Island Records, climaxed the occasion.
Niki Spencer-Coker, Vice President of Supreme Inc. gave the vote of thanks.
© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.