The CBC Health Services a member of the Cameroon Civil Society NCD Alliance is collaborating with the Jordan Breast Cancer Program to scale up the treatment and management of breast cancer in particular and other cancers affecting women in Cameroon. The collaboration which allows for exchange visits and knowledge sharing saw theCBC Health Services Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Program Coordinator, Mr. Mbiydzenyuy Ferdinant and the Woman’s Health Program Supervisor, Manjuh Florence travel to Jordan to learn from the country’s experiences in managing breast cancer.
Shortly after returning from the visit Akem Nkwain had a chat with Ferdinant Mbiydzenyuy on ‘Focus on the CBC Health Services’ here is what he had to say highlighting the overall objective of the trip:
This Particular trip thanks to the UICC – Union for International Cancer Control for the opportunity to do the exchange visit with the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (khcf Khcc@khcf ) was mainly to learn about what the Jordan Breast Cancer Program is doing, it is important to always learn from others who have succeeded in doing something and to know exactly what made them succeed and what their challenges were so that when you want to start something in your own organization, it will be easy for you to mitigate challenges and at least be able to start with more focus and more information that can help you to succeed. It was great to realize how the Breast Cancer program in Jordan started including the fact that cancer was initially a taboo in their setting, given that it was a Muslim dominated setting. That makes matters even worse than our situation because at least here people can know that cancer is tough, cancer is a very serious disease but it is not as taboo as it was in their own area so they had even much more difficulty starting their cancer program than we do.
The good thing about them was that there was really high political will to mitigate cancer because the people who were involved had experienced the cancer in the Royal family. No matter what your status in the society is, so long as you are exposed to the risk, you develop a disease it doesn’t matter. They had experience with cancer and realized that instead of being the Leaders of their country and allowing the issue to be a taboo, they should face it head on, that was one advantage they had. So there was High political wheel that supported activities to initiate prevention and control of Breast Cancer and other cancers.
Today the King Hussein Cancer foundation which actually hosts this Jordanian Breast Cancer program is the sixth in the world when it comes to cancer treatment in general and the 3rd when it comes to Breast cancer. So they are far advanced when it comes to prevention and control they have several programs and activities that assists them to generate the demand for screening as well as treatment and they have several things that they have put in place to see that it’s a reality that people have access to prevention and treatment of Breast Cancer
What are you bringing back new?
First thing I will like to make this comment that, when you are working especially within your context, you virtually do not ‘see above the waters’ but when you go out and see what others have done you virtually start ‘seeing above the waters’, and you can understand where you were, then you measure and see where you should go and start making more strides. One of the impact on me is the courage that I/ we should do better. By this I don’t mean we are not doing well, we are doing well but it’s good to acknowledge when people are doing better for example there is already great treatment going on out there for all cancers per say, but we have limited treatment, and we are limited in terms of diagnoses and capacity, but what I learned new is the importance of working by the locally generated evidence. When you work through evidence basis and through evidence based processes, it can allow you to better contextualize and it can allow you to better provide services that are most relevant for the population. I have learned a lot around evidence generation specifically for breast cancer and other cancers and NCDs.
How soon will the population out there begin to feel the impact of this knowledge sharing and learning experience of this visit?
I think they will begin to feel it both immediately and as time goes on because it will depend on the scale and on the processes we need to engage to do contextualization of different things and we will also be doing a lot of things but only after working on it in the ‘laboratory’, I mean back in the program. But all of it ultimately will really be to improve patient care but also to improve access to preventive opportunities or services to the population and the population should really expect a lot of things happening in the communities in early 2020.
You head the NCD Prevention and Control Program of the CBC Health Services that has of recent embarked on ensuring that we beat NCDs in our communities, if you stand on that message, what will you be telling the population in terms of joining in the fight against NCDs?
The population needs to realize that all of us are affected and all of us can be directly or indirectly affected, if you think about it for a moment, a child who has cancer it can be very painful if that’s your child or an adult who has a cardiovascular condition or any of the NCDs like diabetes, hypertension, chronic respiratory diseases, it can be hard for the family. The fact is that a lot of people get their incomes drained because they have to follow treatment every month; families go through sufferings because they have to spare more cash for things related to the medication for even just one person in the family, and it increases the risk for other family members getting the disease condition because the disease also has something to do with the genetics of the family. With all of this knowing that NCDs are not just one disease but a couple of diseases which have similar risk factors, it’s a huge problem and the community has to make sure they join their hands with organizations like the CBC Health Services that are working to prevent and control these Non Communicable Diseases. Join us when we have campaigns, we have campaigns against tobacco, we have campaigns against alcohol misuse, campaigns that promote health in the community, we encourage people to join us in different ways, you can join us in as little as even liking our CBC Health Services social media pages like facebook and twitter that deliver such important messages and sharing the messages so that it reaches more people because we take time to build those messages and if you spread them you could just be helping someone. Join us! Together we can beat NCDs.