ISLAMABAD:10 January: “Pink Ribbon Youth Year 2012” campaign will reach as many as 500,000 youth, in 500 colleges, raising awareness regarding prevention of breast cancer, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) said on Monday.
Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Pakistan Postal Service, National Highway and Motorway Police (NH&MP) and Higher Education Commission will support the campaign. Pink Ribbon Campaign (PRC) National Coordinator Omer Aftab, briefing about the campaign, said, “Starting from the federal capital, we will reach out to 25,000 students for breast cancer awareness.” PRC has been working for the last 15 years across the world, while it started work in Pakistan in 2004.
“Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer, causing 40,000 deaths per year. Approximately one in every nine of Pakistani women suffers from breast cancer at some point in her life, whereas with early diagnosis, a patient’s chance of surviving breast cancer is higher than 90 percent,” he said.
Omer said that around 90,000 cases were diagnosed every year, which is a recorded figure, however, some of them are not highlighted at any stage, especially in the rural areas of the country. Talking about inherent challenges, he said there were cultural beliefs and taboos regarding this disease, besides poor access to health care and lack of medical facilities and infrastructure. He said this campaign is public-private partnership, focusing on improving health of women, adding that it was very unfortunate that one doctor was available for 1254 patients, one nurse for 2671 patients and one midwife for 6235 patients. PAEC has 14 cancers hospitals in the country and is raising awareness about the pink ribbon campaign. Women Development Department Punjab, First Women Bank Sindh and NHA are extending cooperation for the campaign. PRC is spreading awareness through information material nationwide. It also educates girls and women by arranging various events and activities that create a direct interaction. Addressing the ceremony, HEC Chairman Javed Leghari said that over one and a half million students were registered with the commission through affiliated colleges at districts and tehsil level, and the commission would raise awareness about the prevention of this deadly disease. He assured full support to the PRC for promoting awareness about breast cancer, which was alarmingly increasing in the young girls across the country.
A memorandum of understanding has already been signed in this regard, besides setting up a task force headed by the Fatima Jinnah Women University vice chancellor.
Pakistan Post Director General Fazal Sattar on the occasion said the postal service had issued a commemorative stamp, with the message “Join hands to combat breast cancer”, which would be highlighted throughout the world.
NH&MP Additional Inspector General Farooq Azam said that breast cancer was curable and early diagnosis of this disease could save the lives of patients.
“Although it is not the mandate of the police service, we are involved in various activities like polio-immunisation and breast cancer awareness campaigns, as we have access to over 100,000 commuters, travelling through national highways,” he said, adding that “around 50,000 children were administered polio drops by the police service and it will also disseminate awareness regarding prevention of this disease.”Nation.