Women and Development
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 Philomena Marijani - WAMA Communication Unit
WAMA Foundation today joined a Coalition for Prevention of Cervical Cancer in Tanzania. The coalition consists of five local NGOs—Medical Womens’ Association of Tanzania (MEWATA), T-MARC Tanzania, Wanawake na Maendeleo Foundation (WAMA), Tanzania Youth Alliance (TAYOA) and the Mbeya HIV/AIDS Network—all working under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW).
These organizations will work collaboratively to increase cervical cancer awareness and community uptake of screening and treatment services for cervical cancer.
The coalition has been developed under Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Initiative.
Speaking at the launching of the coalition Director of Preventive Services (DPS) at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Neema Rusibamayila, thank Bristol Myer Squibb Foundation through Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative for providing funding to this critical area of women health.
She said that Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Initiative in Tanzania was launched by His Excellency President of the United Republic of Tanzania and former U.S. President, George W. Bush during African First Ladies Summit that was held in Tanzania July 02, 2013.
She mentioned that some of the factors that are hindering the access and uptake of screening services include inadequate information on access to cervical cancer screening and treatment services and inadequate diagnostic facilities and weak referral system.
Dr. Neema commends the initiative said that it will address the challenges the country face especially in increasing awareness and access to cervical cancer screening in the country. She said the Ministry will provide full cooperation and guidance throughout the implementation period to ensure the highest for improving women health.
Dr. Doyin Oluwole, the Executive Director - Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon from George W. Bush Presidential Center appreciates H.E. President Jakaya Kikwete and Mama Salma Kikwete for their leadership, commitment and determination to tackle cancer especially women cancer in Tanzania. She commends the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Tanzania especially in developing cervical cancer strategy.
“In each country where we work including Tanzania our goal is to build on existing healthcare programs and infrastructure and work within the existing health systems and national cancer plan. That’s why we are so pleased to be here for the launch of the Coalition for Prevention of Cervical Cancer in Tanzania, our community based efforts to accelerate education, prevention, early detection and treatment.” Dr. Doyin said.
Dr. Sarah Maongezi, Director of Health Promotion of WAMA Foundation said that WAMA under the leadership of its Chairperson H.E. Mama Salma Kikwete will be responsible to perform high level advocacy with the Government Officials on cervical cancer issue.
We will do advocacy meetings with the two committee of Parliament of Tanzania: HIV/AIDS and Community Development Committees so as they can reinforce cervical cancer issues when discussing Ministry of Health Budget during the Parliament Sessions. She added that at the regional level we will talk conduct meetings with the Regional Health Practitioners: Regional Health Management Team (RHMT) so as they can allocate funds in their Comprehensive Council Health Plans (CCHP). WAMA will perform its activities in two regions: Dodoma and Mwanza
Dr. Serafina Mkuwa, the Chairperson of MEWATA noted that cervical cancer is the second most common cancer amongst women worldwide and that 80 percent of all new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed in developing countries like Tanzania. “About 25 percent of Tanzanian women will develop cervical cancer in their lifetime, and almost half of all diagnosed patients will die due to late diagnosis,” says Mkuwa.
Some notable participants attended launching of Partnerships for Prevention of Cervical Cancer in Tanzania include Director of Preventive Services (DPS) at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Neema Rusibamayila, the Executive Director of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, Dr. Doyin Oluwole, the President of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF), John Damonti, Tanzania UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Patrick Brenny, CUAMM Tanzania and Ethiopia, Members of coalitions, representatives from CDC and PEPFAR as well other stakeholders works in Cancer programs.