The First Lady Jeannette Kagame has requested health officials, researchers and key players in health sector to sustain awareness campaign against cancer to make Africa a cancer free continent.
She was the guest of honor at the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) Conference held today in Kigali.
The conference attracted multidisciplinary specialists from the global cancer community to reduce the impact of cancer in Africa.
“A third of cancer cases can be prevented. As global citizens,we have the duty to put in place effective and sustainable systems of prevention,” she said.
“As a continent, we can ease pressure by raising public awareness, developing preventative programs accessed and understood by all.”
The First Lady said that there is need to pledge to never stop educating the importance of healthy lifestyles, including regular medical checkups.
She said that there will be more chances to win the fight against cancer if they promote the need for well-trained, skilled and dedicated workforce.
“It is important for Rwanda and Africa to continue educating its population about the fight against cancer.”
In Rwanda, like many other nations whose population have access to cancer screening, incidences of cancer diagnosis are becoming known.
For example, men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, children with leukemia and kidney cancer while women battle breast and cervical cancer.
While this may not be enough, however, the First Lady Jeannette Kagame told participants, “The fight against cancer diseases calls for diversity of partnerships and collaboration. Advocacy and mobilizing public-private support for this cause requires strengthening along the cancer continuum.”
This fight against cancer also “forces us to take an honest look on what is still needed.”
The First Lady called upon participants to answer a couple of questions in relation to the cancer context.
“Are we creating structures needed to encourage a rise of new and young African scientists who will be drawn to this specific field?”
“Are we effectively building capacity in our countries to help our scientists become solution-driven in the face of key health challenges?”
“Are we creating the right incentives or environment that encourages research that assess all ways through which we can prevent cancer?”
Meanwhile, Rwanda is making strides towards cancer treatment.
Starting next year, the radiotherapy center under construction at Rwanda Military Hospital will provide patients with a link to comprehensive cancer care.
The facility will save several Rwandans from spending millions while seeking treatment outside the country especially India.
It costs patients between $8,000 and $12,000 to seek treatment abroad.
This year’s AORTIC 2017 International Cancer conference is organised under the theme: “Cancer in Africa: Making Strides, Creating Solutions.”