Double celebration for the SOS day and launch of save My Mother Project in Malawi
SOS Children’s Villages Malawi launched the second phase of the Save My Mother Project (SMMP) in a lively event organised on the 23rd June 2017. The launch was purposefully scheduled for the 23rd June to coincide with the celebration of the SOS day where all over the world SOS Children’s Villages celebrates the birthday of the founder of SOS Children Villages Herman Gmeiner. The launch of the Save My Mother Project was organised under the theme “I need my mother, strengthen collaboration to end Cervical Cancer in Malawi.” It was attended by over 100 stakeholders from Ministry of Health, development partners, the academia, NGOs in the health sector, the media as well as the general public.
The theme of the launch was an opportunity to deeply reflect on how serious cervical cancer has wreck havocked the lives of productive women in Malawi. Cervical cancer is the commonest cancer in women in Malawi with an increasing incidence since the HIV pandemic. Statistics indicate that cervical cancer constitutes 78.6% of all documented female cancers, notes the 1999 National Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policy.
Setting the tone for reflection and looking forward to finding solutions, Mr. Hope Msosa, the National Director of Programmes addressed burning issues that lead to children losing care including the deaths of the mother. “Using our expertise in child care, we analyse different ways to understand the context in which the children find themselves in wanting of alternative care. The death of women due to cervical cancer is another worrying trend in the country pushing a lot of children to orphan hood and this is an issue of concern to SOS Children’s Villages. Our key ask to government is therefore to conduct a nationwide cervical cancer screening campaign to all eligible population of women in the country.
SOS Children’s Villages Malawi National Programmes Director giving his remarks
The National Programme Director also highlighted the importance of the day itself. Launching this project on the 23rd June is also very important on the history of SOS Children’s Villages. On this day we celebrate the birthday of the founder of SOS Children’s Villages, Hermein Gmeiner and every year, we celebrate this day in honor of him. We call this a double celebration and a perfect reminder that we are still committed to the vision he steered long time ago.
Dr. Bagrey Ngwira, a seasoned cervical cancer consultant and a senior lecturer at the University of Malawi, the Polytechnic, was the guest of honor at this function. He never missed words regarding the high rates at which Malawi is losing its women to cervical cancer. He said cervical cancer is a national development concern and the need for collaboration and strengthening of partnerships cannot come at any better time than now. I greatly thank SOS Children’s Villages Malawi for bringing us all together in this room to appreciate the challenges from cervical cancer together and come up with solutions together. The realities that Malawi ranks first on the death of women due to cervical cancer globally is shocking and scary. Not all hope is lost though, we can still salvage the situation. Cervical Cancer is largely a preventable disease through early screening. As such if we make Cervical cancer screening accessible to all eligible population of women, we are geared to reduce the rates at which we are losing our mothers, wives and sisters. In addition, Screening Cervical Cancer is painless cheap and fast, said Dr. Ngwira in a reassuring tone.
The launch of the SMMP was a great success with every one energized to play his/her role to change the story of Cervical Cancer in Malawi. SOS Children’s Villages Malawi is committed to the cause. The 2030 strategic direction of “no child should grow up alone” is a motivation to still push for the necessary changes that will make us realize this ambition. We are geared to engage different stakeholders, more especially the government to act on our key asks.