The Cancer Information & Support Society of Uganda (CISSU) and Save Community Care Foundation, a not for profit organization from Kaliro, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at extending cancer awareness and support interventions among the rural communities in Kaliro district, eastern Uganda.
The CISSU Board Chairperson, Susan Birungi Badagawa and the Save Community Care Foundation Executive Director, Godfrey Kiirya signed the MOU on behalf of their respective organizations at a special signing ceremony organized at the CISSU head offices in Kiwatule, Kampala.
The major thrust of the MOU is for the two organizations to work collaboratively to establish a network of village health teams focused on creating cancer awareness within their communities in Kaliro district.
The village health teams will be distributing cancer education materials and will also be trained as para-counselors to offer psycho-social support to terminally ill patients. Similarly, the MoU also aims at extending support to People Living with Aids, vulnerable children and the elderly in Kaliro.
Kiirya remarked that he was grateful to CISSU for agreeing to collaborate with his organization to stand with the rural communities.
“We thank you for accepting our request and giving us a chance to work with you. We have been undertaking a number of health activities in advocating for orphans and vulnerable children, people living with Aids, as well as skilling communities and we have been yearning to get into partnerships with organizations like CISSU to build on the relationships already established with the communities and the district leadership.” Said Kiirya.
While reacting, Susan Badagawa, thanked the Save Community Care Foundation management for agreeing to partner with CISSU.
“This is a calling which touches all of us. It is a cause where we have to help the people living in the countryside. They lack information and we have to extend cancer awareness to them. Without partnerships, you cannot do much, but together we can achieve more. We have been having challenges that have limited our interventions to only urban centers but by the grace of God, we shall build on partnerships like these to reach the hard to reach areas.
As CISSU, we shall do our best to fight cancer in the rural areas and gradually, we shall extend support in other areas to the communities. People need social skills as well, promoting positivity to the young people and how to improve on their livelihoods. We hope to work with SCCF to achieve most of these.” Said Susan adagawa.
Uganda has one of the highest cancer burdens on the African continent. According to the Globocan report of 2018, Uganda recorded 32617 new cancer cases and 21829 deaths. The increasing cancer burden is due to several factors like population growth, ageing, and the changing prevalence of certain causes of cancer linked to social and economic development.
According to the 2018 CISSU needs assessment for the cancer information gap that was conducted in Uganda, it was discovered that Ugandans in rural areas received cancer information through radio. However the radio shows were aired during hours when they were busy in gardens or tired after work. The rural communities also preferred to access information through health workers within their communities or village health team but none of them was offering cancer information.