The two-day virtual Forum will build on the success of the inaugural Cervical Cancer Forum held in Sharjah in 2019.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Sharjah and specifically the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) hosts on Jan. 27 and 28 the second edition of the “Cervical Cancer Forum,” under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
Over 35 health experts and specialists including policy makers from 11 countries around the world, would be discussing updates and promoting ways to continually raise awareness and move forward local to international efforts, to taper down global incidence of cancer of the cervix.
Cervical cancer is caused by various kinds of human papillomaviruses (HPV), classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as “high-risk” and a result of unprotected sex. In 2018, WHO estimated that 570,000 women worldwide got infected with HPVs and which eventually progressed into cancer. Some 311,000 succumbed to the disease that year. Some 700,000 women and 400,000 deaths had been projected by 2030, if governments fail to address the situation.
The forum, titled “Accelerating Action on HPV and Cervical Cancer” is timely and significant as the annual “World Cancer Day” is observed on Feb.4 (Thursday), an initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
The UICC is a non-government organisation with more than 1,200 member-entities, such as the FoCP. FoCP is under the directives and patronage of Sheikha Jawaher. Present in 170 nations, the UICC, established in 1933, “calls upon government leaders and health policy makers to significantly reduce global cancer burden and integrate cancer control into the world health agenda and development agenda.”
The Jan. 27 to 28 forum will advance Sharjah’s agenda of identifying innovative, bold and practical steps for planning, implementing and monitoring cervical cancer prevention and control services to reduce mortality rates and unblock the barriers to good health. The themes of the seven keynote addresses and panel discussions are “2021: Where are we with cervical cancer elimination?,” “Continuum of care in cervical cancer,” “Social advocacy in cervical cancer,” and, “Advances and innovation role in the ecosystem of cervical cancer elimination.”
Among the high-profile speakers that will focus on transformative policies and solutions to cervical cancer are Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, UICC president-elect, UAE Minister of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) AbdulRahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais, FoCP-Board of Directors chairman Sawsan Al Jafar, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)-Sexual Reproductive Health Technical adviser Petra Tenhoope-Bender, WHO-Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Technical
officer Dr Nazim Pourghazian, UICC deputy chief executive officer/Advocacy and Network director Dr Julie Torode, and Eastern Mediterranean NCD Alliance founder/chairperson Dr Ibtihal Fadhil.
Some who would be sharing their expertise on cervical cancer are FoCP director general Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, WHO-Eastern Mediterranean-Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Immunisation medical officer Dr Kamal Fahmy, UAE MoHaP-Health Centres and Clinics Sector assistant undersecretary Dr Hussein Al Rand, and Libya Ministry of Health-National Vaccines Committee head Dr Solaimani Abuserwill.
Knowledge and viewpoints of specialists from various institutions and cancer organisations from other countries are also joining the discussions. Among them are Royal Hospital (Oman) Gynaecology oncologist/senior consultant Dr Thuraia Al Rawahi, Cervical Cancer Prevention Network (Philippines) chairperson Dr Cecilia Llave, DirectAid (Kuwait) director general Dr Abdullah Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (UK) Communications and Public Affairs head Kate Sanger, and Together for Health (USA) executive director Heather White.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Ruler of Sharjah, said the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) shall continue to advocate and support local to international agenda towards the elimination of cervical cancer.
The 11th edition of Pink Caravan Ride, an annual breast cancer awareness initiative of UAE-based non-profit Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), will ride into 2021 in a unique format in February with the participation of equestrian clubs from every emirate, and will be marked by 42 days of free health screenings for men and women to encourage early detection and prevention of breast cancer.
The UAE-based non-profit, Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), has announced its half-yearly performance statistics for 2019. The numbers reveal they have been going strong in continuing their cancer awareness advocacy and treatment support efforts. Having accumulated over 5,000 beneficiaries since their inception, FOCP has already brought 215 new patients and their families within their support radius in 2019.
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