Michel Sidibe and Celina Schocken at the Congress
From October 31 to November 3, over 3,000 delegates comprising world leaders, technical experts, advocacy groups, research organizations, cancer survivors and patient advocates descended on the Palais Des Congrès in Paris to attend the 2016 World Cancer Congress, a bi-annual gathering of to share experiences, exchange knowledge and best practices on global cancer control. This year’s Congress was themed: “Inspiring Action, Mobilizing Change”.
The opening ceremony featured an impressive line-up of speakers, such as the President of France, François Hollande, Her Majesty, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, the Queen of Spain, and the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibé, one of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s four founding member organizations. Mr. Sidibé highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships in cancer control saying, “Public-Private partnerships are vital to the fight against cancer, and UNAIDS is a part of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a global partnership fighting women’s cancers.”
With the international press coverage and trending hashtags on Twitter, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon featured in several events. The CEO, Celina Schocken, was a speaker on the panel session organized by a Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partner, the American Cancer Society, on ‘Championing the fight against cervical cancer in the developing world’ where she highlighted the roles and results of the partnership in strengthening national cancer control programs since its inception five years ago.
Ms. Schocken described how Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon contributes the implementation of the third Sustainable Development Goal which is focused on health, at a panel session organized by Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation on building partnerships to meet the UN SDGs health targets. Dr. Serafina Mkuwa, the President of the Medical Women’s Association of Tanzania (MEWATA), a Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon implementing partner in Tanzania was also a speaker on the panel. She described how the partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation through Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has been instrumental in the organization of mass screening outreaches where thousands of women are screened for cervical and breast cancer in different Regions of the country.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is a member organization of the new global initiative called the Cervical Cancer Prevention Initiative that was launched at the Congress. The initiative will focus on collecting baseline data on cervical cancer screening and preventive treatment in countries for advocacy purposes and to track expansion of services over time.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon presented two oral abstracts during the Congress. Dr. Toun Olateju, a Country Program Manager, presented on the partnership’s experiences in comprehensive cervical and breast cancer control across partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The second abstract was on the transportation project for women with confirmed cases of cervical cancer that Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is coordinating in Tanzania in partnership with Vodacom Tanzania Foundation. The transportation project is being implemented by T-MARC Tanzania. Doris Chalambo, Senior Program Manager at T-MARC Tanzania gave the presentation at a rapid-fire presentation session.
The Congress provided the global platform to highlight Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s work, strengthen existing partnerships, and build new alliances in the fight against cancer. We departed Paris inspired and mobilized to change the paradigms surrounding cancer control in low and middle income countries. We are energized to rapidly advance Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon-supported programs to additional countries as we look forward to the next World Cancer Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2018.