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Hundreds run in Tanzania to increase breast cancer awareness, action

Page history last edited by Rosemary 12 years, 5 months ago


Support from the U.S.-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, global leader in the breast cancer movement, helped launch the first Tanzania Race for the Cure®, organized by the Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation in collaboration with Komen for the Cure. The fund-raising event was held October 19, 2008, to build awareness of breast cancer and to help increase access to life-saving early detection and treatment options for Tanzanians.

Hundreds of participants, including Tanzania’s First Lady Salma Kikwete, former First Lady Anna Mkapa, U.S. Ambassador Mark Green, Tanzanian government officials, advocates and breast cancer survivors participated. “The first Tanzania Race for the Cure gives me great hope and inspiration,” said U.S. actress and Komen Ambassador Gabrielle Union, who was part of a Komen mission to Ghana to launch the Ghana Breast Cancer Alliance the previous week. “Women, together, can create awareness about this disease and give hope to those who need it most.”

An estimated 2,500 women with breast cancer register as patients in hospitals in Tanzania each year. Of that number, only about 300 make their way to Tanzania’s only specialist cancer hospital, Ocean Road Cancer institute in Dar es Salaam, the only facility offering cancer treatment including chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the country of 35 million people.

The Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation, formed earlier this year from a core group of breast cancer survivors and volunteers, is the only such non-governmental organization of its kind in Tanzania. To build awareness, the Foundation has publicized the story of a woman named Zubeda who visited a traditional healer after discovering a breast lump in 2003, and only reluctantly sought medical attention when that approach did not work.

By the time she had a mastectomy in 2006, the cancer had spread and by the last months of 2007, her arm was so swollen and painful she could not move it or touch it. Painkillers were weak and ineffective as the cancer invaded her liver, lungs and bones. Before Zubeda died in March 2008, she agreed to be photographed.

“The pictures show a woman who died – needlessly and in great pain – because she did not have the right information at her fingertips," says Angela Kuzila, executive director of the Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation. "By not knowing about early detection and the curability and survivability of breast cancer in its earliest stages, Zubeda lost her life.” The Tanzania Race for the Cure event will help raise awareness about the critical importance of early detection in saving many more women’s lives, Kuzila said.

The Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation, launched with grants from the Netherlands Embassy and the Foundation for Civil Liberty Foundation,  is committed to helping women with breast cancer in Tanzania and to help improve appropriate treatment and support services.

This story is adapted from a news release, entitled Hundreds Turn Out in Dar es Salaam for Tanzania Race for the Cure: Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Mission Delegation on Hand To Applaud Tanzania’s Progress in Raising Awareness of Breast Cancer, datelined Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, October 19, 2008. The picture, which comes from the US Embassy website, shows US Ambassador Mark Green and his wife, Canadian  High Commissioner Janet Siddall (arm extended) and nearly 1,000 Tanzanians who took part in the first Run for the Cure held on the African continent.



Medical Women Association of Tanzania conducts breast cancer awareness and screening

The Medical Women Association of Tanzania (MEWATA) has been carrying out  campaign of breast cancer awareness and screening since 2005. In three campaigns carried out in Dar es salaam, Mwanza, and Mbeya in 2005-7, MEWATA screened 42,029 women. Now in 2008, it is extending the campaign to Lindi, in southern Tanzania, where it hopes to reach between 4,000 and 8,000 women.

The breast cancer educational program was conducted through partnership with a private television station ITV/Radio One, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and many other stakeholders.

The Lindi program also will be carried out in co-operation with other stakeholders. MEWATA says the campaign has increased breast cancer awareness in Tanzania and encouraged women to demand that hospitals provide breast screening services.

MEWATA is working to facilitate the donation of nine mammography units to nine regions in Tanzania, and to build a Well Woman Clinic in Dar es Salaam. In October 2006, a Breast Cancer Walk organized by MEWATA and the Lions Club DSM Central and Tanzania Breast Cancer Support Group raised funds to buy a mammography machine, which was donated to Temeke District Hospital on October 27, 2007.

The Wanawake na Maendeleo Foundation of Japan has provided MEWATA with a grant to construct the Well Woman Clinic and construction is expected to begin soon.

MEWATA, an organization for female medical professionals created 20 years ago, aims to contribute to Tanzania’s efforts to build the capacity of the health sector and to contribute to the improved quality of life and social well being of Tanzanians. It is based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

This story was prepared from information on the MEWATA website. The picture of the breast cancer screening program was taken by MEWATA in 2005; it is part of an album of photographs provided on the site.


For more stories about womens health, see:

A thousand people walk to save womens' lives in western Georgia

Inexpensive tracking of maternal deaths can help protect maternal health – Indian study

Community grants raise breast cancer awareness in Mexico

Motorbike ambulances save lives of mothers, babies, in remote areas of Africa

Fistula operation ends shame, allows women to rejoin society

Five Congo nurses create organization to aid Congo women raped by rebel fighters

Bringing health care to the patients saves womens’ lives in Mali

Cervical cancer control 'achievable for the first time'

Vinegar provides simple cervical cancer screening test where Pap smears not available

Trained birth attendants save mothers' lives in Ethiopia

Respect for Bolivia’s indigenous mothers may help reduce high maternal mortality rates

Affordable menstrual pads keep girls in school, create jobs


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