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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when we celebrate and honor the brave women and their loved ones throughout the world who battle breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women around the world, with approximately 1.4 million women being diagnosed and over 450,000 dying from the disease each year. The sad and unfortunate fact is that more than half of these deaths occur in low or middle income countries – countries like Ghana – where breast cancer generally occurs at a younger age, where cancer awareness is generally very low, and where access to health care is poor.
Fortunately, in some of these countries, leaders have emerged to give hope and care to these women; champions who do not believe that where you live should determine whether you live. We recently had a chance to speak with one of these champions, Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai, a leading breast surgeon in West Africa and CEO of Peace and Love Hospitals, about the importance of improving breast cancer awareness. Dr. Wiafe Addai has taken an aggressive grassroots approach, engaging women of all ages, to increase awareness and demystify breast cancer in Ghana. At meetings in community centers and churches, and in interviews with local media outlets, she explains the importance of early detection and the consequences of delaying treatment. Her organization works with schools to inform girls about breast cancer, targeting a demographic that not only improves awareness in the younger generation, but also helps spread knowledge as girls talk to family and friends. Promoting breast cancer awareness and early screening is critically important, especially in low-income countries where cases are on the rise and access to quality care remains limited. Low levels of awareness contribute to the fact that approximately 70% of cancer patients in developing countries are diagnosed at very late stages, when treatment options are far less effective. Culturally sensitive health education programs advocating for early screening, like those led by Dr. Wiafe Addai, are helping to change this trend by getting women diagnosed at early cancer stages. The Bush Institute is committed to saving lives of women around the world by spotlighting health issues like breast cancer and spearheading global initiatives. Recognizing the magnitude of these issues, the Institute has worked with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, National Breast Cancer Foundation, and others to establish and support the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative. In addition to reducing deaths from cervical cancer and creating innovative models for women’s cancer control, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon aims to raise awareness of breast and cervical cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment and reduce stigma so women can demand services in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Find out more about breast cancer and contribute to the Bush Institute global health efforts.
This post was written by Suraj Patel, Assistant Researcher in Global Health, at the George W. Bush Institute.
14 Things to Know About the Life-Saving Work of PEPFAR on its 14th Anniversary
This weekend marks the 14th anniversary of PEPFAR, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which President George W. Bush signed into law on May 27, 2003 as part of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003. Since then PEPFAR has saved nearly 12 million lives. Here’s a look at 14 interesting facts about PEPFAR, which has lead the progress in the global campaign to end AIDS. In 2003, at the signing of the PEPFAR legislation, less than 50,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa were on antiretroviral treatment (ART) for HIV/AIDS, now 11.5 million individuals are on ART due to PEPFAR. 99.5 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women are receiving ART, a more than 40 percent increase since the beginning of 2014. This has led to nearly 2 million babies being born HIV-free to infected mothers. Since the start of PEPFAR, new HIV Infections have declined 51 to 76 percent. Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) can reduce men&rs
President and Mrs. Bush's Visit to Namibia and Botswana in Photos
They delivered a message to Congress and all Americans: lives in Africa matter.
Building on America’s Leadership in Global Health
The new administration should stay the course as a strong leader in global health. This is a bipartisan effort, as both sides of the aisle have agreed on the importance of health care investments through successive Congresses and administrations, reflecting the priorities of the American people.
7 Things to Know about PEPFAR on World AIDS Day
Today marks World AIDS Day: a day to honor those lost, celebrate the global progress made in the fight against AIDS, and commit to put an end to the disease. In 2003, at the signing ceremony for the legislation that enacted the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), President George W. Bush said, “We believe in the value and dignity of every human life. In the face of preventable death and suffering, we have a moral duty to act, and we are acting.” Since then, PEPFAR has delivered life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART) to 11.5 million people, and nearly 2 million babies have been born HIV-free with PEPFAR support. PEPFAR’s success contributes to a coordinated global effort to end AIDS. UNAIDS reports that since 2000, 18.2 million people have access to treatment for HIV, new infections of HIV have decreased by over 1 million infections, and AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 1.4 million. There is real hope for endin