By Minahil Makhdoom
ISLAMABAD: First Lady Samina Arif Alvi on Thursday called upon the women to take breast cancer seriously and learn about the techniques of self-diagnosis for an early detection of the disease. Addressing at an awareness walk organized at the premises of Parliament House, the first lady said the health of women was vital for the survival of a healthy society.
Samina Alvi said unfortunately 40,000 women in Pakistan died every year due to breast cancer, which otherwise had high prospects of cure if diagnosed at earlier stages. The first lady, who ran a month-long awareness campaign on breast cancer in October, said the drive was not targeted to a particular party, group or segment, but meant to save lives of thousands of women in the country.
She emphasized on the important role of parliamentarians in collective highlighting of the issue of breast cancer at national and constituency levels. She paid tribute to women of the country who supported her campaign on breast cancer throughout October and also appreciated various departments in public and private sector in joining her call.
The first lady lauded the contribution of print, electronic and social media for giving coverage to the public awareness messages on breast cancer. She mentioned that media owners and anchorpersons, in this regard, were especially taken onboard for dissemination of awareness messages and expressed satisfaction over the symbolic use of pink ribbon by celebrities at many television channels.
She said Pakistan Air Force had agreed to set up awareness centres at its air bases, while armed forces and the health ministry had assured provision of database of patients. Under a Memorandum of Understanding, she said, Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital would provide training to Green Star, which would spread the word of awareness about breast cancer along with its other message of population control.
Also, Aga Khan Hospital, has started work on breast cancer awareness by getting funds pledged by its alumni, she added. The first lady said the recently opened call centre in Karachi would provide information through women consultants and nurses. The centre, in next phase, will also offer an appointment system to facilitate the women.
The first lady said uplift of the people with disabilities was another area of concern for her, for which she would start raising awareness about in near future. She stressed accurate data collection about the disabled to effectively target and address their problems. Senator Seemi Ezdi in her welcome speech highlighted the importance of raising awareness about breast cancer to help women avert the risks of high mortality rate.
She said women parliamentarians had contributed to the social cause by becoming part of seminars, walks and discussions regarding prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Later, First Lady Samina Alvi led the awareness walk along with women parliamentarians, working women, breast cancer survivors and girl students carrying banners and placards with awareness messages about breast cancer.