The Well Woman Clinic (WWC) commemorates Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, with the theme:”EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES; WE CARE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.” After much preparation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, activities kicked off on the 1st October, 2013, with a short documentary on breast self-examination (BSE), work at the Clinic and interviews with officers from UNFPA and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. It was aired during the month on two large TV screens at the Lumley roundabout and at the clock tower by the Eastend Police Station. Numerous men, women and children gathered in both areas every evening to benefit from the information on BSE. Several other outreach activities took place at the Clinic and in Makeni. The WWC also participated in the American Embassy’s health fair for staff and family members, taught BSE at the Pink Friday exclusive dinner and fashion show, as well as at the Ladies’ Golf Tournament hosted by International Insurance Company (SL). We were privileged to be invited to give a talk and demonstrate BSE at the St Augustine’s Church ladies’ retreat. The Makeni outreach was sponsored exclusively by United Business Systems Ltd, a locally owned commercial enterprise. The above activities would have been less meaningful had we not succeeded in getting most of the parliamentarians under one roof, i.e. in parliament, to learn about the plight of those unfortunate Sierra Leonean women being diagnosed with breast cancer every day.. The Programme Director, Mrs. Jennifer Renner-Thomas, reminded parliamentarians of Sierra Leone’s commitment to the UN’s Declaration on the Establishment of a Holistic Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Programme of which cancer forms an important part. Dr Lynette Palmer, Clinic Consultant, gave a brief presentation highlighting cancer management gaps in the country in the areas of diagnosis, treatment, palliative care, and the establishment of a cancer registry. The response was promising; parliamentarians seemed particularly to have enjoyed the session on breast self- examination. For two days afterwards, this advocacy activity received wide coverage on national TV and radio. Other activities included the annual ‘wear-pink-to-work day ‘.when women and men from all walks of life wore a touch of pink to their various places of work. The ‘sunset’ sponsored walk — the most popular and thrilling activity, was attended by over four hundred men, women and children who had the opportunity to see a beautiful sunset at the Atlantic Club, while listening to jazz music. As we continue to fight against this global scourge, we salute all our brave mothers, sisters, and other family members and friends, who did not survive breast cancer. Our appreciation goes to UNFPA, Mr. Mohamed Sesay (UBS Ltd), Shankerdas and Sons Ltd, Balani and Sons Ltd, Choithrams, Merani and Sons Ltd, DSTV, Protec Security, and Comium, for their generous sponsorship. We also thank the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Christian Aid, and other local NGOs for their collaboration. Do join the fight in whatever way you can.
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