Cancer patient support group made 35,000 people in UAE happier last year

KT file photo
KT file photo

Dubai - A total of 23 webinars addressing various cancer-related issues further pushed the advocacy agenda of the FoCP in 2020.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Thu 25 Feb 2021, 6:45 PM

More than 35,000 people benefitted from the activities carries out by the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) last year, despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic.

A total of Dh2.95 million was spent on 400 cancer patients and their families in the UAE. Patient-focused events under the ‘Colour My World’ programme last year included healthy living lectures, entertainment workshops, yoga, and make-up sessions. Eighteen virtual and two physical events offered moral support to a total of 1,155 patients.

Through educational workshops, puppet shows, and magic shows, the Joy Cart brought cheer to 890 children undergoing treatment in hospitals. Of these, eight were held virtually and six were held on location at various hospitals.

Cancer does not stop – even in a global pandemic, said Sawsan Jafar, chairperson of the FoCP. “Our commitment to safely providing patient care and cancer screenings throughout this period underscores why this must be made a priority for all. Early detection offers the greatest hope for both choice of treatment options as well as survival,” he told Khaleej Times.

A total of 23 webinars addressing various cancer-related issues further pushed the advocacy agenda of the FoCP in 2020. The FoCP began last year with 450 delegates attending the third Global NCD (non-communicable disease) Alliance Forum in February. It hosted social events that offered forum attendees an opportunity to sample local culture.

In collaboration with Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the American Cancer Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the FoCP also virtually unveiled the Arabic version of the third edition of the Cancer Atlas.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a strategic partnership with the UNFPA marked a new milestone in the FoCP’s shared journey to achieve the critical goal of cervical cancer prevention and risk reduction. In addition to FoCP’s Ameera Fund, a global cancer fund advanced its humanitarian endeavours at UAE and abroad and conducted training for cancer registrars in charge of the regional cancer registry.

The FoCP’s annual Pink Caravan Ride marked its 10th year of raising community awareness of breast cancer by screening 11,077 females and males in the UAE last year. A total of 2,164 individuals underwent mammogram screening while 610 medical professionals offered their services through 199 clinics last year. The total clinical examinations conducted over the decade-long PCR now stands at 75,089.

People made their charitable contributions virtually in 2020 by purchasing online coupon to support the ‘I Deserve a Life’ Ramadan Zakat campaign that supports treatment costs of cancer patients. Donations received from more than 200 individuals and families covered the costs of treatment of 346 cancer patients.

The organisation engaged leading dermatologists to deliver a webinar titled ‘Protection from skin cancer’ in July that offered expert tips to keep skin cancer and other skin-related problems at bay. It observed the International Breast Cancer Awareness Month with 36 activations across 10 clinics and the Pink Caravan Mobile Medical Clinic that offered 786 free clinical breast examinations and 280 mammogram screenings.

Its smart app Relay by FoCP successfully garnered the support of companies and organisations in encouraging their employees to get their daily steps to stay fit and healthy, achieving a total of 1.5 billion steps in seven challenges with 2,500+ participants, to date.

It also furthered its Shanab initiative – an annual awareness drive to address prostate and testicular cancers among men.

The FoCP developed 100+ awareness and educational videos that were shared on @focpuae YouTube channel. To drive greater awareness on the importance of self-exams, FOCP launched the #SelfExamEmoji as a constant year-round reminder for women to do self-exams and spread the word about breast cancer.

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