First Lady Christine Kaseba has commended the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Initiative, Bush Foundation and other partners for the positive contribution they have made in fighting cervical and breast cancer in Zambia.
Speaking during the First Ladies summit dubbed ‘Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa’ in Dar-es-salaam today, Dr. Kaseba noted that Zambia would not have recorded any success without these partners.
She said cancer has been a major public concern in Zambia because the country is ranked first in mortality rates in the world.
Dr. Kaseba, who is a medical Doctor, also urged her fellow First Ladies to use their influence to fight challenges which affect their countries.
She said First Ladies should influence stakeholders to help address problems such as cancer and help in sensitising the community on the dangers of this disease and how to treat and prevent it.
She said Zambia has eight provincial training centres and 29 health centres through where over 100,000 women have so far been screened.
Dr. Kaseba said this development shows a rapid expansion of cancer screening and treatment through visual inspection with acetic acid VIA, building see and treatment.
And former United States President George Bush commended Dr. Kaseba for the good leadership she has shown in championing the fight against cervical and breast cancer.
Mr. Bush noted that the Zambian First Lady has been very instrumental and has shown great leadership in fighting and sensitising the communities about cervical cancer.
He said the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative has contributed to the success story against cancer in Zambia.
The Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Initiative is being rolled out in Tanzania as the third country after Zambia and Botswana.
“If Zambia can be a success story so can Tanzania. Let us work together to ensure that the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon contributes to the success of Tanzania in fighting cervical and breast cancer,” he said.
And President Jakaya Kikwete said cervical cancer remains a silent killer and is responsible for the death of many women in Tanzania.
“There are 21,000 Tanzanians developing cancer ever year and out of these, 29.4 per cent are cervical cancer cases while 6.2 per cent are breast cancer,” he noted.
Dr. Kikwete said it was sad that as many as 80 percent of women were dying of cancer which is curable because the country lacks early detection facilities.
He said despite many challenges faced in fighting cancer, his government was committed to achieving victory in the fight against this disease.
Dr. Kikwete said some of the challenges include financial resources, lack of vaccine, machines and few trained personnel.
The summit, which has been co-sponsored by the Bush Institute and ExxonMobil, is been attended by United States First Lady Michelle Obama, former United States First Lady Laura Bush and former British Prime Minister’s wife, Cherie Blair
Others include African First Ladies from Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and host Tanzania.
The summit is also being attended by different stakeholders such as nongovernmental organisations, United Nations (UN) agencies and government institutions.