Women are the backbone of sustainable African livelihoods. The role of women is significant and crucial for the progress of rural households, local and national economies. “They are farmers and farm workers, horticulturists and market sellers, business women and community leaders. Rural women are the backbone of sustainable livelihoods and provide food security for their families and communities,” said former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Women and girls living in rural areas however face many challenges, including gender inequality in education, sexual and gender-based violence, high prevalence of maternal mortality, HIV and AIDs, child marriage, FGM, conflict and natural disasters. But one of these challenges is Cervical Cancer. It is the most common cause of cancer in Africa where it accounts for 22% of all female cancers and 12% of all newly diagnosed cancer in both men and women every year. In Africa, 34 out of every 100,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 23 out of every 100,000 women die from cervical cancer every year (WHO). Yet it is a preventable disease! There is a safe and very effective vaccine that protects against cervical cancer and it has the potential to prevent one third of all cases of cervical cancer. And routine cervical cancer screening and early treatment can prevent up to 80% of cervical cancers if abnormalities of the cervix are identified at stages when they can be easily treated.
In Africa 23 out of every 100,000 women die from cervical cancer. Yet it is a preventable disease!
We, Rays of Hope Jinja Hospice (RHHJ) and Cycling out of Poverty Foundation (CooP-Uganda) have committed ourselves to recommend all women aged 30-49 years to get screened regularly and find the vaccine. In many parts of Africa, cervical cancers are not identified or treated until advanced stages due to insufficient access to reproductive health care services, effective screening and early treatment.
“Cervical cancer is a preventable disease and affects far too many women in the African Region. There is an urgent need to integrate cancer control programmes into existing primary sexual and reproductive health care services, strengthen multisectoral collaboration, and improve public health awareness in order to tackle this devastating disease,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Mission Uganda for the Roses
We aim to organise sporty, healthy and fun events to create awareness and raise funds in the fight against women cancer in Africa. This is your way to help us fight it, in memory of someone who did not survive, as support to someone who is fighting the battle right now or just because you are involved in any kind of way.
Going slow reaching far
The annual Uganda for the Roses is raising funds to start and run a health promotion intervention that advocates for screening and HPV vaccination and to equip community health volunteers with bicycles to effectively spread the message and refer and muster women to the right health centres. And we need your help!
So, join the Uganda for the Roses! Ride, run or walk, but be there. There is a ‘can’ in cancer, because we can beat it!