Christmas Message to Partners.
“Despite the global and local efforts in cancer research and innovations in treatment, Cancer is increasingly eating away our people in Africa especially women.Current reports indicate increased death rates resulting from breast and cervical cancers in black women regardless of where they live” This is because our cultures have not taught us how to speak about issuesof the private parts in public. A woman who does so is disrespected by the society. Women experience fear and self-blame when they recognize breast or cervical abnormalities and only disclose when it is too late to save life. Thank you for helping UWOCASO in 2018 to empower women and girls to break the stigma.
This year at UWOCASO, we have been inspired and motivated by your contributions and support to the fight against cancer in Uganda. We value your involvement as a Donor, Funder, Fundraiser, Advisor, volunteer, Partner /Network or a Guest to our functions; we want to thank you for your generosity throughout 2018.
Your support makes a big difference, making it possible for UWOCASO to reach communities and connect directly with cancer realities in the society. With your support we were able to meet the critical needs of cancer patients and their families, built capacity, educated communities, touched and changed lives.
Together we have achieved fantastic results;-
We reached over five million people with awareness messages via Radio, TV shows, newspapers, face to face community outreaches, social media and awareness talks to corporate staff and distributed six thousand Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials and shared cancer stories and survivorship testimonies.
With AFRON,AIRD and local partners(Uganda Cancer Institute, St Kizito Hospital Matany and Lacor hospitals)we reached underserved communities of Karamoja, Gulu, Pabbo, Amuru, Opit and Kampala Somali refugees where one thousand two hundred forty four(1,244)people benefited from screening and awareness and graduated seven refugee cancer champions
With financial support from American Cancer Society we were privileged to lead a consortium of five cancer organisations and other partners to implement “All of Me HPV cancer free Initiative”. Using a systematic approach, we developed 3-minute 8 episodes of radio skits, 2-minute 3 radio spots, 2min jingle, a job aid for health workers and a poster. These messages are aiming at driving demand for HPV Vaccine and cervical screening are now awaiting approval by the Uganda Ministry of Health.
We are grateful to the survivors and volunteers who have been at the center of helping cancer patients facing difficulties navigating their care. Hundreds benefited from navigation, counseling and referral services in and out of hospitals. We distributed 100 prosthesis (artificial breasts) 145 Mastectomy bras and 10 lymphedema sleeves, beddings, cloths, medicines and financial support. We transitioned fifty (50) patients into survivors. We thank volunteers at Cancer Council Queensland Australia and individual donors
We successfully hosted quarterly group therapy meetings for survivors, cancer patients and their families benefiting five hundred and twenty (520) people.At every meeting speakers are invited to address issues of concern at a time.
We are thrilled to be among the beneficiaries of the two year American Cancer Society (ACS) Strengthening Organisations for a United Response against the Cancer Epidemic (SOURCE) program. This program has helped UWOCASO achieve over 75% maturity in domains that are required for a functional organization with policies and procedures in place.
This year we have actively participated and benefited from SOURCE program where some Board members and staff have been trained in External relations and partnerships, personal development, Microsoft Excel and programing.
We have led an unprecedented collaboration with local and international Institutions. Collaborations include Uganda Cancer Institute, Uganda Golf club and it’s members and individual corporate companies, Universities, Associations, professional bodies and CSOs.These partnerships have increased impact of our programs.
UWOCASO participated in national and international meetings to present accepted abstracts and showcased our work. These conferences included World Cancer Congress in Malaysia, 6th-Breast Health Global Initiative summit in Seattle-USA,Women Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network (WE CAN) regional summit in Lusaka Zambia. UWOCASO fully participated in the planning and organisations of 2018 World Cancer day celebration and the first National Cancer Symposium.This has helped UWOCASO become a strong Advocacy and patient organization.
UWOCASO is proud of the continued growth in terms of size and programs that our organization has achieved this year. In order to maintain the standards and meet the demands, we expanded the Secretariat with additional staff:-Ms Betty Nakayinga as Patient Support and membership Coordinator and Mr. Mutunzi Hebert Lubega as Awareness and Campaigns Coordinator and recruited the first Finance and Administration Officer Mr. Willy Dhamuzungu. We registered Twenty one (21) new members (survivors), trained seven(7) Somali refugee cancer champions and fully constituted the Board of Directors including three non survivors.
We celebrate UWOCASO’s success during the last ten years in engaging partners, mobilizing communities for early detection, giving hope to cancer patients and survivors and amplifying the patient voice to be heard. We celebrate the appointment of our own Gertrude Nakigudde to the Board of Directors of Uganda Cancer Institute to represent cancer organisations in Uganda. We value everybody who has been part of this journey including founder members, survivors, mentors and advisors.
We cannot afford to rest!!: Christmas is approaching and everyone is excited, cancer doesn’t go on holiday, you can still save life even on Christmas day. You are an important part of our Goal“To contribute to the reduction of female cancer burden in Uganda”
The Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Uganda Women’s Cancer Support Organization (UWOCASO) wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New.