With these words Cinzia Catalfamo Akbaraly, president of the Akbaraly Foundation, opened the inauguration ceremony of the first center for the prevention of female cancers in Madagascar. The celebration took place on Saturday May 24 in the city of Fianarantsoa in the south of the country.
From its opening in 2012, the center has provided more than 5,000 treatments for the prevention of cervical cancer. Now, thanks to the joint efforts of the Akbaraly Foundation and its partners, the center will also provide to the patients free obstetric consultations and a service of breast screening. The clinical center has already a laboratory of pathology and cytopathology and, starting from June, it will also start a service of biochemical analysis.
The goal of the Foundation is to make the center a milestone for all health care service for women and children in the city and also in the region thanks to the Mobile Unit project. Since July, in fact, a vehicle equipped with a mammograph and an ultrasound will go in the most disadvantaged rural areas, to provide medical services to women who would not otherwise have access to healthcare.
An important day for the city and for the country, which saw representatives of the most important international health institutions celebrate shoulder to shoulder with the people of the town, all united facing a disease that, despite its tragic effects, is “democratic”, and affects everyone in the same way. The difference is about the hope of survival, totally absent in most of Africa, but that on May 24th arrived to Fianarantsoa.
"Cancer can be defeated. With proper prevention and with the right treatments there can be health; this is the message we want to give today"
The event was attended by the most important national institutions and by many international partners, who took the opportunity to emphasize their willingness to continue and to strengthen the collaboration with the Akbaraly Foundation. Dr. Raphael Lee, professor at the University of Chicago, announced his intention to set up a joint venture for research projects. Professor Vikash Sewram, Director of the African Cancer Institute, has showed his helpfulness in helping the Foundation in its important work. The Center of Fianarantsoa is now ready for the big leap, thanks also to new partnerships with the United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS), represented for the occasion by the national manager Claire Mulanga , and with the United Nations Fund for populations (UNFPA), represented by the coordinator Agathe Lawson . In addition to the technical partners, even the biggest donors of the Foundation were present. People like Livio Aiolfi from Andilana Beach, Franco Tozzi, Chairman of Tozzi Group, and the representatives of Orange Madagascar.
The pink march
After the inauguration, the Akbaraly Foundation has organized a pink march to raise awareness about the importance of prevention. The procession, composed by citizens and numerous local organizations, has crossed the entire city. On that day, Fianarantsoa was literally flooded by a pink crowd.