FOCP joins Congress on Childhood Cancers - GulfToday

FOCP joins Congress on Childhood Cancers


A session in progress during the Childhood Cancer International Asia Conference in Abu Dhabi.

SHARJAH: The 12th annual conference of the Childhood Cancer International (CCI) Asia, witnessed the active participation of Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), who were invited along with other leading healthcare professionals and members of the civil society, involved in the care of cancer in children, to collaboratively combat the disease, so that no child should die of cancer.

The event was held between April 3-4, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

FOCP, which is a leading cancer specific charity operating in the UAE, participated in the 2-day event in the capital, contributing in its comprehensive programme, that saw a combination of lectures, plenary sessions and panel discussions, held under the theme, ‘Better Lives for Kids with Cancer.’

Under this ambit, FOCP’s participation at the event entailed its primary focus on promoting awareness around early detectable cancers within the UAE community and their unrelenting commitment in helping cancer patients and their families get through the long and arduous journey of cancer treatment.

Co-moderating one of the sessions, was the Director General of FOCP Dr Sawsan Al Madhi. Enhancing programmatic collaborations to strengthen the national response to ‘Caring for Caregivers and Carers’ of childhood cancers was high on the agenda.

Discussions highlighted an individual to collective journey towards caregivers’ care, the challenges and the possibilities in this field and dialogues promoting resilience and well-being among the caregivers who were also up for deliberation.

A simultaneous session ‘Mindfulness Interactive Workshops’, that engaged with a different demographic, was held. Adult colouring therapy sessions for caregivers and meditation sessions presented therapeutic properties, that revealed decreasing symptoms of physical and emotional distress during treatment.

Nada Bin Ghalib, Director of Community Affairs at FOCP, outlined the tech-savvy initiative called Anavation, which encourages the youth to create solutions related to childhood cancer, with an aim to inspire future researchers, academicians and scientists. She explained how Anavation, with innovation at its base, has a multi-pronged approach to raise awareness about the 7 common warning signs of childhood cancer. Discussions involved how the power of innovation, robotics and STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics), can be used as access points for guiding inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking in this area.  

Abdulrahman Mohammed, a beneficiary support executive at FOCP, presented the Joy Cart initiative that visits paediatric cancer wards across the UAE, spreading happiness and hope in the lives of young patients fighting the disease. Under this initiative, patients take part in interactive workshops and are presented with gifts, uplifting their spirits and instilling a sense of normalcy in their lives, by engaging them creatively.

Speaking about the need to optimise childhood cancer treatments throughout the world, Dr Sawsan Al Madhi said, “Right since its inception FOCP, under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Royal Patron of FOCP, has spared no effort to organise initiatives locally to minimise and eradicate childhood cancers. Sharjah and the UAE work very closely with international organisations to consolidate efforts to eliminate this disease and that explains our participation in this conference, which is also devoted to building collaborations among members of the Asian continent, for better childhood cancer care.”

She further said, “We are eager to learn from this very well-informed congress, that’s witnessing a plethora of field experts and healthcare professionals. Through these lectures, plenary sessions and debates, we are sanguine, that this disease is curable if diagnosed and treated at an early stage and we acknowledge positive changes that are emerging today. This change begins from caregivers that is carried through to the communities, who are essential partners in global advocacy for childhood cancers in all aspects.”

Speaking about how every child is a precious gift to the world, especially the ones suffering from cancer, and appreciating FOCP’s unrelenting support to provide best possible treatment and care for them, Dr Benson Pau, CCI Head of Asia said, “It is our honour to have FOCP from the UAE, as one of our global member organisations out of 177 CCI entities, that operate in 88 countries.

“We are glad to work with FOCP to host the 12th CCI Asia conference in Abu Dhabi. We are extremely pleased to collaborate with FOCP in future childhood cancer initiatives and we extend our heartfelt gratitude for FOCP’s help, who have immensely contributed to the success of this conference.”

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