President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet His Excellency Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of the Republic of The Gambia, and Mrs. Zineb Jammeh, in the Blue Room during a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner at the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Gambia’s First Lady Zeinab Souma Jammeh is spearheading a national crusade to combat cancer, a disease, which has ravaged the African continent, the Freedom Newspaper can report. The office of the First Lady, is going to organize a cancer walk, the first of its kind to be initiated by her office on February 4th, 2015, according to a GRTS newscast. The day coincides with the global celebration of cancer. The theme for Gambia’s national cancer awareness day is: “ YOU CAN; I CAN; GAMBIA CAN.”

zainab_jammeh-dSpeaking to GRTS’s Mama Jay, about the ongoing preparations to celebrate cancer day through the First Lady’s office, Mr. Ousman Dem, Program Manager at the Ministry of Health, noted that the cancer walk procession slated for February 4th, is going to attract people from various walks of life including influential personalities. He said speeches and flyers would be delivered on the day in question—with the primary objective of raising public awareness about the cancer pandemic.

According to Mr. Dem, marchers will assemble at the National Assembly building in Banjul, and march towards the July 22nd square, where the First Lady Zeinab Jammeh is going to address the procession.

Besides raising the public’s awareness about the dangers of cancer, Mr. Dem further noted that the day would be used to raise funds to combat the dreadful disease.

“We are going to use the day to raise funds; to revitalize; to rejuvenate the cancer unit at the Francis Small Teaching hospital. The unit is not very strong. The funds generated from this activity can be used to support them,” Mr. Dem remarked.

The Health Program officer also observed that cancer is very prevalent in The Gambia. However, he noted that not many Gambians are aware of the serious nature of the disease in the country.

“Mama, you will know that cancer is something that is not being talk about a lot in The Gambia. Many people think that cancer is not very prevalent in the Gambia, but to our surprise we have a lot of cancer cases,” said Mr. Demba.

According to Mr. Dem, there are no available statistics right now about the number of cancer cases in The Gambia, but he warned that the disease is taking its toll on the population.

“Right now it might be difficult to specifically state the cancer rate, but we can tell you that we have seven major cancers that are very prevalent in the Gambia, and among them is: breast cancer; surgical cancer; lung cancer, hepatitis; clown cancer..”

The Ministery of Health, he said, is working very hard to combat hepatitis with the coming of the hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis he went on “used to be very prevalent, but now we talking about surgical cancer.”

Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai

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