January 29, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
First Lady Fatima Bio has called for an increased public awareness on cancer so that people would know what they should do to avoid contracting the deadly disease.
According to the First Lady, even though she has very little knowledge about cancer, it was important for someone like her to come out and be a voice for survivors and those living with the disease.
She was yesterday speaking at presser hosted to galvanise media support on raising awareness as Sierra Leone prepares to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day on 4 February, 2019 on the theme: “I am and I will”.
“Cancer is one of the things I think we need to discuss in this country. We need to bring as much awareness as possible. My understanding is that cancer is the biggest killer disease we have and the statistics are crazy,” she said.
She emphasised the need for people to speak up rather than remaining silent and doing nothing, while others continue to die.
First Lady Bio claimed that more people were dying of cancer in the country because the facility to deal with it was not readily available.
“I see this as an opportunity to inform the government about the plight of cancer so that something can be done. We can do a lot from now on to the World Cancer Day on 4 February, 2019, to let the government and development partners know that we lack everything to treat cancer,” she noted.
She disclosed that a seminar will be organised next Monday (February 4, 2019) to raise more awareness.
Khadija Konneh, a survivor and breast cancer advocate, narrated that “it was not easy when I was diagnosed of cancer. My world just came crushing down. The thought of dying crossed my mind but I thank God for the support I had then from family and friends for me to survive it.”
She had taken a vow to fight for those who were suffering from the disease, and disclosed that over 3,000 people were affected.
She stated that World Cancer was being commemorated every year because they wanted to continue raising awareness.
“The theme for this year’s commemoration is “I am and I will. We all have a part to play in raising awareness on cancer. Cancer is killing us slowly. I want those that have been diagnosed to have the belief that they can survive it with early detection, treatment and education,” she said.
She added that even though the facilities to treat those with the disease in country were not available, but with a robust awareness campaign, the statistics will change.