How the First Lady of Ethiopia is Affecting the Course of Cancer in Her Country

Posted by On August 4, 2016

First Ladies, as prominent public figures, have influential convening power and are advocates for positive and lasting change.  They are able to use their platforms to gain support and raise awareness around key issues, rallying like-minded stakeholders in key partnerships.

Last month, the George W. Bush Institute’s First Ladies Initiative and Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a global partnership fighting women’s cancers, joined the American Cancer Society for a multi-day  pre-conference workshop at the tenth annual Stop Cervical Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) Conference.  Hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the workshop focused on the importance of advocacy in garnering support and spurring action around cancer control.

The First Ladies Initiative and Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon value the voice of First Ladies to bring attention to cervical and breast cancer, often working in synergy to engage principals’ offices and further amplify critical program efforts.

Together, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon and the First Ladies Initiative have enjoyed a strong, collaborative relationship with the office of Her Excellency, Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

As a champion for women and girls, and an outspoken advocate for cancer control, Mrs. Roman has relied on the First Ladies Initiative to serve as a resource in setting up her office and building capacity and partnerships, and worked closely with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon to expand services for cervical and breast cancer in Ethiopia.

A prominent advocate, Mrs. Roman has built a robust coalition to address cancer in Ethiopia, and her spotlight on the threat of this disease to the health of women and girls is paying off.  She has engaged partners across the globe and called upon local organizations to take up this torch with her.  With her guidance, Ethiopia is making rapid improvements to cancer care with ambitious plans for the expansion of screening and treatment services across the country.  Leveraging her leading role as First Lady, Mrs. Roman has founded the Ethiopian National Cancer Control Committee, on which she serves as chairperson, supported the creation of Ethiopia’s first ever National Cancer Control Plan and launched it with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health in October 2015, and consistently encourages an intense focus on cancer from the highest levels of government.

The Bush Institute and Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon strongly believe in the value of collaboration, and are proud to work with advocates, like Mrs. Roman, who are committed to making their country better and effectively use their platforms to advocate for life-changing and sustainable interventions.


This post originally appeared on the Bush Institute’s website.