Rwanda Children’s Cancer Relief has launched childhood cancer campaign aimed at creating more awareness about childhood cancers in Rwanda.
The launch started with a monthly community service in Nyarugunga Sector, Kicukiro District, on Saturday.
After a two-hour community service of preparing a marshland in Rwiyange Cell, residents gathered to follow a lecture about childhood cancer and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Childhood cancer awareness is an annual event that takes place in September across the world.
The Rwanda Children’s Cancer Relief is conducting the awareness for the third year.
As part of this year’s campaign, the organisation will conduct awareness outreaches in different parts of Kigali.
Mark Hagenimana, in charge of fighting NCDs and cancers at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, said there is a need for more campaigns about childhood cancers.
“Cancer is a big problem that Rwandans are facing today. Awareness about the disease is still low. There is no official statistics of people who suffered cancers, but at least 500 children who suffered from cancer were received at Butaro Hospital over the past two years,” Hagenimana said.
Hagenimana also noted that despite efforts to fight NCDs, the diseases are on the increase.
“Much effort is invested in fighting different kinds of diseases though we still have some which are on the increase like cancer among children and adults,” he said.
NCDs are also called lifestyle diseases and include diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, cancer and stroke.
He highlighted the causes of cancer among adults, including insufficient physical exercise, smoking, among others.
“The problem is that the causes of cancer in children are not yet well known. We sensitise citizens about symptoms because when cancer is detected early there is hope for cure,” Hagenimana added.
Janvier Kabogo, executive secretary of Rwanda Children’s Cancer Relief, said the organisation also supports families with children suffering from cancer.
“We started with community service in order to inform people about the childhood cancer awareness month. During the month, we will conduct outreaches in hospitals and schools so that everyone knows what children’s cancers are and how to prevent them,” Kabogo said.
He called on people to seek early medication instead of using traditional medicines.
“People are not aware of cancer signs. Whenever such signs appear, they think of witchcraft. This leads them to use traditional medicine,” said Kabogo.
“Our aim is to create awareness and inform the people. We also want to register children with cancer and support those who need special treatment.”
The association is organising a joint concert that will bring together local artistes and journalists, among other partners, to raise funds for support of children that need special cancer treatment in abroad.