World Cancer Day – 2016

Addis Ababa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, February 6, 2016. The month of February has seen again one of the most productive events since the struggle to get access for better treatment service waged in Ethiopia by patients directly affected by cancer and organizations representing cancer patients. Her Excellency Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia, has brought together major stakeholders in the country working to prevent and control cancer at different programs spanning from February 4 to 6, 2016. The meetings were organized as one event to mark the World Cancer Day, which is celebrated worldwide every year on February 4.
The first program was commemorated on February 4, 2016 at side event of United States-Africa Business Summit. The main event of the program was commemoration of World Cancer Day and H.E.Mrs Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia and representatives of invited organizations attended the discussion. Ambassador Sally Cowal, Senior Vice President, Global Programs of American Cancer Society moderated the program. Wondu, explained how with continued and concerted effort and the works by government and other stakeholders, they have been able to create conducive socio political environment for preventing and controlling of NCDs in general and cancer in particular & how the First Lady’s involvement in National Cancer Control Committees as chairperson has contributed to the policy changes & meaningful measures being taken at national level. He thanked and acknowledged the efforts being made by government, Her Excellency Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia and Dr.Kestebrhan Admassu, Minister of Health and all involved for their tireless advocacy in the lead up to this historical stage.

World Cancer Day

From left, Sally Cowal, Senior Vice President, Global Programs of American Cancer Society, explaining why ACS decided to award H.E. Mrs .Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia for her leadership in advancing the fight against cancer and right the First Lady receiving the award.

From left, Sally Cowal, Senior Vice President, Global Programs of American Cancer Society, explaining why ACS decided to award H.E. Mrs .Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia for her leadership in advancing the fight against cancer and right the First Lady receiving the award.
The second part of World Cancer Day program at the summit, was organized again by American Cancer Society to honor H.E.Mrs.Roman Tesfaye,the First Lady of Ethiopia for her outstanding & productive contribution intended to challenge the growing cancer burden here in Ethiopia. Ambassador Sally Cowal expressed her admirations to the effort of her Excellency, Mrs. Roman Tesfaye and her optimistic perspective. In the speech Her Excellency, Mrs. Roman Tesfaye underscored the problem of cancer as a pressing public issue that requires a concerted effort of all stakeholders. She also expressed her will and determination to work along with all stakeholders to raise the profile of cancer in Ethiopia and mobilize supports from every corner to expedite the nation’s bid to prevent and control cancer.

World Cancer Day

H.E.Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia in the middle with some of the participants of the award ceremony posed for photo.

The third part of the program involved panel discussion organized by the American Cancer Society. Several invited guests participated in the meeting. Wondu as a speaker, outlined the Ethiopian experience on how multi-sectorial collaboration & partnership helped to make non-communicable diseases as one of the major health priority and how they managed to develop the National Cancer Control Plan, the first of its kind in Ethiopia and how they are trying to integrate NCDs in the already existing primary health system nation-wide.

World Cancer Day

Wondu third from right with participants of panel discussion on NCDs & Cancer organized by American Cancer Society posed for photo.

World Cancer Day was officially commemorated at national level in Ethiopia on Sunday, February 6, 2016 coupled with the official launching of four stories Cancer Center. The program was organized by the Federal Ministry of Health & the First Lady Office with the collaboration of MWECS and other stakeholders. The new cancer center is previously built as health center and renovated & refurbished to be as oncology center to give treatment for adult & pediatric cancer patients. The new center is within the vicinity of the Black Lion Hospital and serve as an extension to it.

World Cancer Day

Prof. Yifru Birhan,Chief Executive Officer of Addis Ababa University, Mr. Paul Mainuka,WHO, Ethiopia Office Representative,Dr.Kesteberhan Admassu, Minister of Health of Ethiopia and H.E.Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia presenting welcoming speech, opening remarks and opening speech respectively.

World Cancer Day

From left the new cancer center, an extension of the Black Lion Hospital and H.E.Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia officially launching the center accompanied by Dr.Kestebrhan Admassu, Minister of Health and invited guests.

World Cancer Day

From left H.E.Mrs. Roman Tesfaye in the middle with some of the participants of the World Cancer Day & launching ceremony.

World Cancer Day is marked on February 4 to raise awareness on cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control/UICC/ to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration written in 2008. The primary goal of the World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020. Lack of awareness is another big problem here in Ethiopia & WCD is the right occasion to do awareness creation & prevention. There is lack of awareness about the magnitude of the problem in the country. There are also stigma and misconceptions about cancer; that all cancers are incurable. There is little work done, to date, to promote the awareness that most cancers can be prevented, can be cured if diagnosed early, and quality of life of patients can be improved even if the disease is diagnosed in advanced stage.
Thanks to continued support from government and policy makers, particularly from Her Excellency Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia and Dr.Kestebrhan Admasu, Minister of Health and his team and the works by government, stakeholders and partners, we have been able to create conducive socio political environment for preventing and controlling of NCDs in general and cancer in particular. Thus, we can assert that the socio political dynamics in Ethiopia more than ever has been dramatically revised to favor NCD. Towards these ends, It is apparent that Her Excellency Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of Ethiopia & Dr.Kestebrhan Admasu, Minister of Health involvement in the national cancer control through National Cancer Control Committees etc has contributed to the policy changes and revisions at national level. The efforts being made by government, other stakeholders and partners also needs to be acknowledged.