Thousands of cancer patients get free treatment, thanks to Sharjah fund

Staff Reporter /Sharjah Filed on July 11, 2020 | Last updated on July 11, 2020 at 08.08 pm
Thousands, cancer patients, free treatment, Sharjah fund

(Supplied photo)

The fund also pledged Dh1.4 million to support the treatment of cancer patients in the UAE.

Nine projects have been initiated by the Ameera Fund of the UAE-based Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP) to reduce the burden on patients, healthcare systems, and civil society organisations.

An international financial aid of over Dh11.18 million was extended to thousands of beneficiaries which included a partnership worth Dh735,000 with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). The fund also pledged Dh1.4 million to support the treatment of cancer patients in the UAE.

"We are committed to closely collaborating with our partners and supporters to provide coordinated, comprehensive and effective treatments to cancer patients worldwide, and to raise public awareness about cancer at the local and global levels. As the second leading cause of death globally, cancer is a multifaceted global issue that cuts through society and demands prompt action to alleviate its impact," said Sawsan Jafar, chairperson of FOCP.

Among the nine projects, the first was implemented in Jordan in collaboration with The King Hussein Cancer Foundation. The Fund granted an amount of Dh734,500 to the foundation's 'Goodwill Fund', which aims to support underprivileged patients of all nationalities by covering their full or partial treatment costs. Since its inception in 2003, the Goodwill Fund has borne the treatment costs of 2,320 cancer patients.

In Mauritania, the fund granted Dh85,000 to support the efforts of the 'Association Mauritanienne de lutte contre le cancer' in raising awareness on oral, cervical, head and neck cancers. It also collaborated with the Gulf Federation for Cancer Control (GFFCC) and The Arab Medical Association Against Cancer (AMAAC) to send physicians from seven countries to Mauritania. Specialised training workshops were conducted, and meetings held between families and doctors to answer their questions about the disease. The courses and meetings benefited about 221,000 individuals.

Dr Khaled Al Saleh, general secretary of the board of the Gulf Federation for Cancer Control (GFFCC), said: "The team's visit to Mauritania in 2018 was a resounding success as it fulfilled its goals of boosting cancer awareness through an education agenda focusing on early detection, control and treatment. FOCP's Ameera Fund played a vital role in the success of this initiative. In future, GFFCC's field visits will target more countries to support their respective cancer awareness efforts in line with the humanitarian approach adopted by the GFFCC."

In another project, the Ameera Fund established a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in a customised medical ward at the Paediatrics Department of Muhimbili National Hospital, the largest government hospital in Tanzania, at a cost of Dh8,430,499 This project, implemented in collaboration with Tumaini La Maisha, an NGO that provides free and curative care for children with cancer in Tanzania, meets the needs of 1,300 cancer-stricken children annually.

To support children with cancer in the Gaza Strip, Ameera Fund pledged DH300,000 with the support of Patient's Friends Charitable House, towards the provision of chemotherapy drugs. By avoiding referrals to clinics outside Gaza, children can now be supported by their families during the treatment process.

"The Ameera Fund project is enabling children living under siege in the Gaza Strip to have access to medication that previously was available only outside of Gaza. This meant leaving their families behind to go for treatment. The donation of chemotherapy drugs for sick children enable us to treat them in the new paediatric cancer department that we built in Gaza. It gives them great hope for a better future," said Steve Sosebee, CEO of The Palestine Children's Relief Fund.

In Ethiopia, the fund helped provide basic treatments for children with acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL). It pledged Dh600,000 to support research and other measures to overcome several challenges such as high costs, and the availability and quality of cancer treatments. The aid will also go towards improving the national strategies related to the purchase and import of medicines and the mobilisation of international efforts to develop them.

Moving on to the city of Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire, the Ameera Fund organised radiotherapy training courses worth Dh33,000 for medical professionals to deliver radiotherapy treatment to cancer patients. The aim of the project was to increase cancer recovery rates in West Africa by facilitating access to oncology drugs, supporting research, and developing effective strategies to improve health outcomes.

In Pakistan, the Ameera Fund contributed Dh183,649 to ensure continued delivery of quality treatment to cancer patients at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC). With facilities in Lahore and Peshawar, and a new close to completion in Karachi, SKMCH&RC has been offering comprehensive, world-class cancer care for free to the neediest populations in the country for over 25 years.

Every year, Ameera Fund allocates 40 per cent of its budget to help and support patients in the UAE, 30 per cent for patients outside the country, while the remaining 30 per cent is used to build the capacities of cancer organisations in the UAE and beyond.

Meanwhile, FOCP also signed a partnership agreement with the UICC with the aim of supporting cancer awareness campaigns and activities worldwide. Under the agreement, FOCP allocated approximately Dh734,600 from Ameera Fund to support two major projects of UICC, which are expected to be completed this year.

How to contribute:

Individuals and organisations in the UAE and beyond, who want to contribute to the Ameera Fund can make donations through the main branch of Sharjah Islamic Bank - Account number 0011430430015, IBAN AE420410000011430430015 or call FOCP at +97165065542. 



Staff Reporter

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