Background of Rotaract Club of Malindi’s Annual Cancer Awareness Campaign
The Ground Covered
The Rotaract Club of Malindi is a non-profit organisation and partner of the Rotary Club of Malindi. Last year, the club deemed it necessary to take up the responsibility of raising awareness on cancer as its signature project in the medical field. The program is dubbed MWOC (Mashinani War on Cancer). This was so owing to the effects of cancer experienced on the community in Malindi and its environs. According to statistics, the most common types of cancer in Malindi include breast and cervical cancer in women, while the men are largely affected by prostate cancer.
From the first annual cancer awareness campaign, which was held in November last year, Rotaract Club of Malindi has been able to procure cancer drugs for four (4) patients. These patients are to be on long-term use of these drugs; hence, the club has provided them with a year’s supply of their respective drugs. The club has also spearheaded the formation of support groups for cancer survivors to facilitate easy follow-up, as well as foster relationships in which the survivors can find the much-needed encouragement along this challenging journey. All this has been made possible by the contributions received from individuals and corporations that selflessly came out to support last year’s cancer awareness campaign. As a charity organization, the club is forever indebted to these individuals and organizations of good-will.
During last year’s campaign, the club organized a walk around Malindi as part of its awareness creation attempt. The theme of the campaign was “No One Fights Alone”. Indeed, this was proven by testimonies from cancer survivors who narrated their long walk to recovery and their need for support. In these hard economic times, the survivors explained how they have had to make the difficult choice between the purchase of expensive cancer medication and putting food on the table for their families.
The Journey Still Ahead
However, despite these efforts, Rotaract Club of Malindi recognizes the fact that the war has just began and that there is still more to be done. In Kenya, cancer is the third most common killer disease after infectious and cardiovascular diseases. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (“GLOBOCAN 2012”, 2017), the highest cancer incidences for men in Sub-Saharan Africa are: Prostate, Liver, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, Oesophagus, Colorectal, and Lung Cancers. The highest incidences among women in Sub-Saharan Africa are: Cervical, Breast, Liver, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancers (“GLOBOCAN 2012”, 2017). According to statistics obtained in 2012, 60% of Kenyans affected by cancer are below the age of 70.
The main reasons for the high mortality rate associated with cancer are: late diagnosis and inability to afford treatment on time. The contributing factors include lack of awareness, inadequate diagnostic and treatment facilities, high diagnostic and treatment costs, a high poverty index, and poorly structured referral systems.
Our Next Step
The Rotaract Club of Malindi will again step out all guns blazing this year. On the 14th of October, 2018, the club will run its second cancer awareness campaign. This year’s theme is “We CANCERvive!”
The objectives of this year’s campaign will be to enlighten the community further on the basics of cancer. We shall also go a notch higher to serve our community by offering free cancer screening in order to help in early cancer diagnosis. There shall be educative sessions in which myths about cancer will be deciphered and stigma against the disease laid to rest. Additional services offered would be HIV and nutritional counselling owing to their impact on cancer management. Through public support, the club hopes to raise the number of patients who will benefit from chemotherapy provision.
It is with this regard that we call upon all men and women of good-will to help us encourage cancer survivors and educate the public on prevention measures. This year, Rotaract Club of Malindi again boldly steps out to stand with all those affected by cancer echoing to them that “We CANCERvive!” Together, we can beat cancer!
images from 2017 cancer walk
“GLOBOCAN 2012: Estimated cancer incidence, mortality and prevalence worldwide in 2012”. (2017). International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Retrieved from http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_population.aspx
by Rtr Wejes and Rtr Michelle, Etal..