A local health organisation, Think Pink Malawi has embarked on a rural breast cancer awareness campaign as one way of commemorating world breast cancer awareness month which is observed throughout the month of October.
With the main event scheduled to take place on October 22, dubbed “Breast Cancer Awareness Walk”, the parade will start at 9am from Parliament Building entrance to Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.
Some of the side events include community awareness at Chileka Health Centre, Msundwe and Chezi Catholic Health Centre in Dowa on October 15 and 29 respectively.
Speaking in an interview on Wednesday, Think Pink Malawi founder Blandina Khondowe said this year Think Pink decided to further broaden the organisation’s scope and visit the two peri-urban communities in Lilongwe and Dowa.
“The aim is to educate women who do not have access to mainstream media on the importance of early detection and also to remove the fear of getting examined in women by involving breast cancer survivors to share their experiences on how to fight and overcome the disease,” she said.
Khondowe revealed that Think Pink team has medical experts who handle breast cancer screening and self-breast examination training to women.
Her colleague, Victoria Mopiwa added that as the organisation is growing, it has now expanded to focus on both breast and cervical cancers.
“Cervical cancer is also a big health issue in Malawi. Therefore, the women that will attend the events mentioned above will be educated on the facts of breast and cervical cancer and will be presented with an opportunity to get screened freely for both breast and cervical cancer courtesy of Think Pink nurses, Centre for medical Diagnostics (CMED) and SOS,” she said.
On Tuesday, Medical Society of Malawi (MASM) joined the campaign by donating K1.2 million to Think Pink Malawi.
Speaking at the donation ceremony, MASM Central Region Branch Manager Bernard Ambali said when approached, MASM did not hesitate because the initiative is for a good cause and it will help save lives.
“This is a good development. We know Malawi’s high population of women live in rural areas. These women don’t have access to newspapers, radios or online services. The only way to reach out to them is through face to face interaction,” He said.
Ambali also noted that going to rural areas will also help unearth some women health problems and challenges.
In a related development, Beata Trust on Wednesday donated K500, 000 for the breast cancer awareness month commemorations.
Beata Trust Corporate Affairs Director Twammie Phiri said Beata Trust decided to partner with Think Pink knowing how difficult it is to reach out to women in rural areas in terms of transport and other logistics.
“We understand the importance of this initiative. That woman in the village needs to know these things to know her status. If we can reach out to one woman, the message will trickle down to her children and the whole community. We know that early detection saves lives, imagine how many lives can be saved if every woman knew self-examination,” Phiri said.
Think Pink Malawi was established in 2014, its brainchild “Think Pink Walk” which is the pinnacle of world breast cancer awareness month in Malawi, has become an annual event.