Breast Cancer Awareness month is an annual international health campaign organised by major cancer organisations every October to increase awareness of the disease. Sunday saw the joint collaboration of several organisations in Addis Ababa raising the awareness of Breast Cancer here in Ethiopia. More than 1500 people attended the event on the 1st November.
Comedian Filfilu warmed up the crowd with much laughter (I can’t tell you what the jokes were as it was all in Amharic but we ensured we added our laughter at the right moments). The event which is collaborated by the ‘Office of the first lady’, and FDRE Ministry of Health was opened with various presentations from the different organisations that made the event happen; MWECS and the other two Cancer charities in Ethiopia (Ethiopian Cancer Association & Cancer Care Ethiopia) briefed the participants on what they have been doing and what they are trying to achieve in the future. Dr Mallett from the Ministry of Health spoke of the seriousness of Cancer and gave the grave figures of what the country is facing and the importance to do more, with the vision to open more hospitals that can detect and treat patients (Currently only 1 hospital in Ethiopia can treat this disease).
The crowd then took to the streets and walked the roads of Addis, showing their support for Breast Cancer in Ethiopia. With 31.5% of newly developed Cancers in Women in Ethiopia being Breast Cancer it is not one to be ignored.
After the walk survivors came up and spoke of their experiences. One lady spoke of if it wasn’t for the support that centres like MWECS, YECA & CCE offer she could not have faced the treatment that the hospital was able to offer.
Early detection of Breast Cancer means a patient has more treatment choices and a higher chance of recovery. To encourage self breast examination is important
The whole event was televised on Ethiopian Television (i am a star!!)
Cancer is not a battle that one can fight and win in isolation and we look forward to the professional, moral and material support of willing individuals and organizations in order to make a difference!