MERCK FOUNDATION, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, has partnered with African First Ladies to mark the 2022 World Cancer Day on the theme ‘Close The Care Gap.’
The two groups, through their Cancer Access Programme, are helping to increase the limited number of oncologists and develop the first multidisciplinary cancer care teams across the continent.
Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, said the Merck Foundation and the African First Ladies, are transforming and advancing cancer care in Africa by building professional capacity and improving access to quality and equitable cancer care in the continent.
“We are making history together by providing this important training for the first oncologists and the first cancer care team in many countries across Africa,” she said.
Despite the rising incidence and mortality rates in Africa, cancer has been given low priority in the research field and healthcare services. It has been estimated that by 2030, there will be a 70% increase in new cancer cases due to population growth and aging.
“I am proud that Merck Foundation has successfully been able to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa by providing Oncology Specialty Training to more than young 90 doctors from 25 African countries”, Dr. Rasha Kelej added.
First Lady of The Gambia, H.E. Mrs. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, said Merck Foundation is training the first-ever oncologists from her country.
“Having our own cancer specialists is very big for us and this has changed the cancer care sector in the country. I appreciate the efforts of Merck Foundation and deeply value our partnership with them,” she said.
World Cancer Day 2022: Prevention And Early Diagnosis Of Cancer
World Cancer Day
February 4 is marked as World Cancer Day to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment.
Primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce the illness and death caused by cancer.
The disease ‘cancer’ is generally associated with sense of helplessness, frustration and fear of death. One of the important reasons for this is misconception that cancer is incurable. While this may be true for cancers detected in advanced stages (Stage IV), those diagnosed in early stages and a few cancers even in advanced stages have fairly good chance of cure.
Compare this to hypertension and diabetes which are incurable – only controlled by medication and alteration in life style.
The incidence of cancer is on the rise; this is due to combination of factors such as changing life style, dietary habits, lack of physical activity and increasing life expectancy.
Tobacco abuse, in any form, is the most important cause and risk factor for many cancers – but importantly for cancer of the oral cavity, voice box, lungs and food pipe.
Below are preventive measures for reducing the risk of cancer
Avoiding tobacco abuse in all forms
Regular physical activity – to maintain healthy weight
Regular consumption of vegetables and fruits
Regular health check up