Cancer is the leading cause of death in the world today, and for women, its breast cancer.
A group of young passionate Somali girls based in Nairobi have embarked on a motivating journey to create awareness on breast cancer among the Somali population.
October being the month of breast cancer, the team of eleven girls have adopted door-to-door campaign to accomplish their mission, a move they said could help spread the word far and wide.
AfyaSmile Kenya talked to the leader of the team, who is also the founder, Sofia Osman.
“It was my idea to come up with the breast cancer awareness with the support of my friends. There are so many people who have been affected by cancer particularly breast cancer,” Ms Osman said during the interview.
Ms Osman said that at first they started their campaign in Nairobi West and South C estates but hopes to reach all regions in the coming years.
To the young girls, it is a way of giving back to their community and the society at large.
With their signature pink T-shirts, the campaign is dubbed Let’sGoPink. Besides being a way of giving back to the society, they feel that there are very few breast cancer campaigns in the country.
The team intends to make women understand the importance of going for cancer tests and afterwards. They are also keen on teaching the population how to undertake self-examination, reaching out to health experts on breast cancer among other information on the killer malignancy.
According to Kenyan Network of Cancer Organizations, after infectious and cardiovascular diseases, cancer is the third highest causes of deaths in the country. With huge cases diagnosed at later stage, breast cancer rated highest; 34 per 100,000.
Sofia argues that many Somali women rarely visit oncologists, or undergo mammogram test or self-examination because of limited knowledge. With much enthusiasm the group hopes to fill the gap with mass awareness.
Philosophically, the campaign stands firm on the feet of ‘giving back to the society wholeheartedly’. There are challenges as well.
“As we all know, people in the city are busy; some of them may not have time for you. The other problem is getting people to move around with you due to tight schedule, family issues, and sometimes emergencies,” the campaign founder said.
Ms Osman said that some people think that the campaigners are out to make money, yet what they are doing is charity, relying on their own resources. Sharing the message collectively and joining the movement is her only appeal to the populace.
To make it a success, the team has vowed to push on and invite others who are willing to join the awareness.
They are hoping to extend the program to the national level by stationing two volunteers in all the 47 counties across the country.
“It is very important to give back to the community, society and people in general. As brothers and sisters let us unite in spreading the word; it doesn’t cost much. You never know, your message may change their lives for the better. Reach out verbally to whoever you can talk to about the breast cancer or via social media platforms,” Ms Sofia urged.
A report from breastcancer.org reveals that chances of a woman having risk of breast cancer doubles if their first-degree relative; mother, sister or daughter have been diagnosed with cancer. All the same, gene mutation, age and sedentary lifestyle remain major risk factors.