The goal of the Akbaraly Foundation is to create awareness and advocacy campaigns across the country. Talking about the disease is a first step towards healing.
A large part of the Malagasy population doesn’t even know of the existence of cancer. And most people who know of it think that a cure is never possible.
We have to speak out, to inform, and explain that early detection is key in order to fight against cancer and treat it. Regular consultations are the best way to battle the disease and some risk factors can be reduced, and testing is possible, particularly for gynecological cancers.
In order to develop a national cancer response system, the entire community has to be involved, including the government, civil society and medical organizations.
Akbaraly Foundation has always worked in two main directions, on one hand it advocates for cancer issues on a national level, working directly with the government and supporting civil society organizations. On the other, it has worked on the field, raising awareness on the importance of prevention and of a safe lifestyle.
One of the first missions of the Akbaraly Foundation is to involve the government and the civil society in the fight against cancer. We want also to raise the attention of the international community on the problem of cancer in Madagascar and in the rest of Africa.
For years the International Community has focused only on communicable diseases, but nowadays the things are slowly changing. With the Political Declaration of the UN High-Level Meeting on the Prevention on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (document no. A/66/L1), the fight against cancer has been officially recognized by the International community as a health challenge of epidemic proportions that requires a long-term strategy and coordination on a global scale. After this Declaration, in May 2012, the World Health Organization has set the new objective to reduce at 25% the premature deaths due to chronic disease by 2025. The Fight against cancer is now considered a global priority from the United Nations and the entire International Community.
Akbaraly Foundation has contributed to this process by raising awareness on cancer in different international conferences. The Foundation has also organized its own conference on the topic.
INVOLVE THE GOVERNMENT
With 4AWOMAN the Akbaraly Foundation was officially recognized as a Technical Partner of the Ministry of Health:
Launching of the 4AWOMAN project alongside the launching of the very first National Policy against cancer in Madagascar.
Working on the analysis, concept and report of the new Health Policy.
The Foundation is a recognized Partner of the Ministry of Health.
MOBILIZE THE MALAGASY POPULATION
The Akbaraly Foundation has contributed to the creation of the Malagasy Union Against Cancer (Umacc), a national organization set up with the aim to fight against cancer in Madagascar.
Leadership advocacy on the country’s needs in terms of cancer treatment.
General awareness campaigns about cancer (healthy lifestyle, prevention, early detection, elimination of stigmas).
Human support to patients and their families.
In order to involve the entire Malagasy society, the Foundation set up a two ways strategy. We have raised the attention of the top of society by involving the Malagasy Ministry of Health in 4AWOMAN. On the other hand, we have touched the base of the society by supporting the creation of a national organization on the theme of cancer.
TED X Antananarivo
On May 14, 2011, at the International Conference Center of Ivato, the Foundation Akbaraly, which is a TED license holder (Technology, Entertainment and Design), organized a high-level conference on the theme “Ideas for Women Cancer Control in Africa”. More than forty international experts have gone up on the stage and the event was broadcasted on the internet, making it the third most popular event of the day.
In most of Madagascar, cancer is completely unknown. Outside of the big cities, in the rural areas only a few people know exactly what it is. In the Malagasy language it is called “homamiadana”, literally “the thing that slowly eats you from the inside”, it’s a fatality, something out of any control, something that means death.
Moreover, the concept of prevention is often not known at all, people go to the doctor only when they have a problem. In the case of cancer it often is too late.
For all this reasons, bringing cancer prevention especially to the rural areas is a really hard mission. That’s why 4AWoman since its beginning has raised awareness on the disease and on the importance of prevention. Our objective is to convince the women to change their behavior, improve their life style and start to have regular checkups.
Those are the messages that we try to spread in the country:
Cancer is not inevitable
Cancer is a disease that can be treated.
Cancer can be cured if detected early.
33% of all cancers can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle.
Cancer is a disease that can happen to anyone.
Cancer is the first cause of death in the world and growing in African countries.
|Short spot||Low effect|
|News report||Low effect|
|Debates and TV games||30%*|
|Face to Face||Result|
|Stand in the market||Low effect|
|Partnership with company||Low effect|
|Raising awareness with the doctor||Belong to the doctor|
|Partnership with other women’s organizations||65%|
|Aware in the heath center||52%|
|School class||Low effect|
|Theater show||No information|
Things like long walks, inaugurations and other public events are really positive for the visibility of the problem, to involve people in the battle and to find new technical partners. But often this doesn’t have a real effect on the number of health services offered in the center.