* together we conquer

Launching of Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign at Sajida Hospital, Keraniganj, Bangladesh, on October 22, 2011

I was a bit emotional when the date for launching of the Breast Cancer Awareness event was fixed on October 22, as it marked my sister’s 4th death anniversary. In 2007, on this day my sister Farhana Ahmed took her last breath peacefully, surrounded by all her family members, she was only 41 years old. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2005, I still remember her expression – she was so quiet. Probably talking to herself, why God, why me? She prepared herself to visit several doctors, went through several chemotherapies and radiation therapies, during the ordeal lost hair, became skinny but at last got cured. She was at T3 stage. Within two months she started coughing and her coughing went on.  The specialists said, she also developed lung cancer.  The cancer captured her lungs, living no room for oxygen. After three months battle with lung cancer, she passed away.

Early detection of Breast Cancer could have saved her life, as she was not aware of breast cancer, never had imagined in her life that she could be a victim of breast cancer. That mindset still I find in my friends, colleagues and other women around me. They cannot believe that they can ever be victim of the Breast Cancer. Some may assume that awareness about the means of early detection for Breast Cancer has spread enough among women in our nation, but they often forget that there is a number of Bangladeshi women who are marginalized due to the poverty they live in, who lack health education in various fields.

The month I joined Adhunika Bangladesh Society (ABS), Dr. Muna Salima Jahan came to ABS for an in house awareness building seminar for the participants of Access to Health Education & Services, where she talked in detail about Breast Cancer. Dr. Muna made all the participants including myself very comfortable to have a lively discussion on a topic that we don’t get a chance to talk about.  As I was also preparing for the upcoming campaign against breast cancer initiated by Adhunika Foundation & Sajida Foundation To me the seminar was a first step for our participants to be prepared for the campaign against breast cancer.

The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and from this month the partnership between Adhunika Foundation and Sajida Foundation will be working on several strategies to help bring awareness to this disease that affects 1 in every 8 women.

Adhunika Foundation and Sajida Foundation have developed partnership to support the women in fighting against Breast Cancer. The motto of this partnership is: Together we are stronger, together we can achieve more, and together we can create more awareness. This partnership launched an Awareness Campaign, emphasizing the power of togetherness with one voice to share the important message of breast health and that early detection saves lives. A great part of this campaign’s efforts was to focus on reaching out to the women who live under poor condition. These women do not get a chance to get enough information about Breast Cancer. Many women in Bangladesh are not aware of Breast Cancer, are shy to talk about it, never seek treatment, or arrive at hospitals with late-stage cancer, which is often untreatable.

 

At the launching event Dr. Rumana Dowla, a palliative care specialist was invited, and as the key note speaker she described several issues related to breast health. She gave emphasis on Breast Self-Examination. She suggested the women in their twenties should begin breast self-exam on a monthly basis as this is the best way to find out the risk factor.  She gave an audio-visual presentation of the Breast Self-Examination process. She also suggested the women over 40 should get a mammogram every year and keep doing so for as long as they are in good health.

This campaign was also promoted through educational leaflets and an audio-visual presentation on Breast health care program: A Choice: Amader Gram Breast Care Program, jointly prepared by IBCRF (International Breast Cancer Research Foundation) and Amader Gram.

I feel humbled to be a part of the journey with this partnership which provided me the opportunity to lead the way for the girls involved with Adhunika Bangladesh Society. I thank all the participants, Program Officer Swapna Sarkar & staff at ABS for being so cooperative. Not to mention the support of the ABS ‘s board members. And it is encouraging to receive support and valuable advice I received from Sajida Foundation (SF), specially from Executive Director Ms. Zahida F. Kabir & Dr. Sabur of SF who guide me throughout the process. And without the tireless support from Adhunika Foundation – don’t think this would have taken a shape. Slowly I am feeling the strength of Friends of Adhunika who wish to bring about change social change in the lives of women through the use of technology.

I, as a sibling of a Breast Cancer fighter, am looking forward to the increased unity of this partnership. Let this partnership work by heart to be closer to the goal: Making breast cancer a thing of the past – TOGETHER WE CONQUER!

~

Tasmeena Ahmed, from Dhaka, Bangladesh

Tasmeena Ahmed  is the Acting Executive Director of Adhunika Bangladesh Society

 

7 Responses to “* together we conquer”

  1. Sutapa Das says:

    Dear Liza
    I feel so proud of you.
    Congratulations for such a successful program . Hope this journey will continue all through the country.
    I am so sorry that I could not attend on this. But looking forward to join in the next one.
    Wish you every success.
    Sutapa Das

  2. Parsa says:

    Dear Tasmeena,
    I am so happy that you have taken this initiative. Congratulations!!! May Allah help you achieve your goal.
    Keep up your efforts!!!!
    Parsa

  3. Asif says:

    well done liza. keep up the good work!

  4. Nuzhat Safa says:

    First of all, my heartfelt condolence to Tasmeena. I can only imagine how painful it must have been for her to lose her sister so prematurely under SUCH painful circumstance. That sorrow is probably now giving her the strength to embark on this long and difficult journey to help others by building awareness. May I suggest that it might be useful to highlight stories in the campaign where lives were saved through early detection? Once ladies realise that the outcome can be radically altered if cancers are picked up at an early stage, they will probably feel motivated to be more proactive.

  5. Babyaziz says:

    I am very proud of Adhunika. I hope this continues every year.

  6. Khalid Mahmood Khan says:

    very good initiative. We are proud of Adhunika and Sajida Foundation. We are with you.

  7. Rumana Khondaker says:

    Dear Tasmeena,
    I knew that your apa died, didn’t know she had such a painful death.I think you are right to bring the issue in front as being directly victimized.Wish and pray that you go further ahead with your goal.Thanks.
    Liza apa.

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Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more

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