Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has been the oil in our engine

Posted by On December 11, 2013
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR) held its annual winter meeting from December 5-6, 2013 at the Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) headquarters in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Gathering at the meeting were forty-three representatives joining in-person and virtually from PRRR member and partner organizations, including representatives from Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania.  
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Steering Committee Meeting; BD Headquarters, Franklin Lakes, NJ
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Steering Committee Meeting; BD Headquarters, Franklin Lakes, NJ | December 6, 2013
The Chief Executive Officer of BD, Vince Forlenza, welcomed the participants to the Company’s headquarters, and expressed appreciation for the achievements of the partnership to date. In her opening remarks, Margaret Spellings, President of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, thanked the members for their commitment to PRRR and challenged them to provide the resources needed to get the job done in existing countries, and thoughtfully consider potential new countries of engagement. The stimulating and compelling country reports and stories provided updates on the successes, challenges, and lessons learned in efforts to scale up. In her presentation, Ms. Veronica Leburu, Chief Health Officer for Reproductive Health at the Ministry of Health noted that through partnership with PRRR, Botswana has made significant progress including: delivery of three doses of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine provided by PRRR, to over 2,000 school girls; training of over 40 nurses and doctors in the “See and Treat” approach for cervical cancer; procurement of equipment for visual inspection with acetic acid, cryotherapy and Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP), and pathology services—to mention a few. In Ms. Leburu’s words, “PRRR has been the oil in our engine”.
School Girls in Molepolole District, Botswana, awaiting HPV vaccination: 2013
School Girls in Molepolole District, Botswana, awaiting HPV vaccination: 2013
Similarly, Zambia ascribed the increase in the number of screening sites, women screened and health workers trained to the financial, technical and in-kind support received from PRRR since December 2011. The good news is that about 60% of women are now presenting with early disease, as opposed to the initial phase of the program when most women presented with advance disease.  Every province in Zambia now has at least one “See and Treat” site in an attempt to bring services closer to the women. Challenges include meeting the increasing demand for services, as well as availing pathology and surgical services closer to the women. Tanzania presented a plan for the use of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon resources committed to activities by the partnership. The meeting deliberations culminated in the approval of the revised Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Strategic Plan (2014-2016), the revised goals, and the proposal to explore new countries of engagement. The three main decisions to guide the activities of the partnership in 2014, 2015 included: support the existing countries of engagement (Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania) to go to scale and reach nationwide coverage; show forward momentum and progress by launching into new countries in a systematic and strategic manner; and a plea to all members to make available to the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Secretariat the resources—financial, human and material—to achieve the set targets. We look forward to being able to apply oil to more engines at country level to help save women’s lives in 2014 and beyond!