Pohamba heading African first ladies against cancer

WINDHOEK: First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba accepted the position of chairperson of the Forum of African First Ladies/Spouses Against Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer for 2014/15 on Monday.

She replaces Mozambican First Lady Dr Maria da luz Guebuza.

In her acceptance speech during the second day of the eighth ‘Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa’ conference, Pohamba pledged to work closely with different cancer associations in Africa which are active in cancer education campaigns, cancer prevention and in assisting cancer sufferers on the continent.

“I equally trust that the ministers of health and Parliamentarians will join me to strengthen the public-private partnership with other non-governmental organisations as we work towards a common goal,” she said.

Pohamba said her main focus is to support advocacy campaigns to spread the message amongst children, women and men that they should seek information early, and also on how to do self-examination.

She also committed to spreading the message on how to detect cancer warning signs, where people who suspect they have cancer should report to, and what they can expect from health facilities.

Pohamba said a cancer diagnosis in devastating for patients, and brings with it physical and emotional discomfort for the patient and their immediate family.

She went on to say as a nurse by profession, she witnessed first-hand the suffering and agony patients experience.

“It is not a pleasant experience and if it can be prevented and or alleviated, then let us do so at all costs. I will be the first to support any such initiative and if within my ambit, I am willing to take that responsibility,” Pohamba said.

The First Lady expressed her appreciation towards the World Bank, which has shown an interest in providing technical and financial support for activities aimed at stopping cancer in African countries.

Pohamba further applauded the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNCEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), and Pink-Ribbon-Red-Ribbon, which are working in partnership with the World Bank.

“I would like to express my profound gratitude to all the First Ladies for having trust and confidence in me to lead our forum for this year. I humbly accept this responsibility and I am sure that with your unwavering support and commitment we will ‘walk the talk’ even beyond my chairpersonship,” said Pohamba.

The conference ends on Tuesday.