Access Bank in collaboration with the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) this week kicked off its annual initiative of raising awareness on breast cancer for women. The one-week campaign is held ahead of the international day for fighting breast cancer which will be held on 4th February under the theme “I Can, We Can.”
“As we help women to access finance for their economic empowerment, we strongly believe that they should also be healthy to be able to benefit from financial stability,” said Nadine Rutabayiro, Team Leader for Access Bank. “We cannot talk about financial development without better health. That is why we are screening them for breast cancer in conjunction with RBC.”
“We have a product called maternal health support scheme where we provide credit at low interest rate (15%) compared to other products at 19 per cent interest rate. So those who may be found with such cancer can access medical treatment and pay back later. The treatment is accessible for both in Rwanda and abroad,” Rutabayiro explained.
The screening targets over 80,000 women, at a time when breast cancer is becoming increasingly prevalent. While figures indicates that about 300 women die from breast cancer every year, the Director of the Cancer Unit in RBC, Dr Francois Uwikindi, concedes that the number is probably much higher.
“We think there are many others who are suffering from breast cancer and who die because they never go for early screening thinking they are suffering from a different disease,” he said.
He lauded Access Bank’s initiative, saying it complements the government’s efforts in raising awareness on prevention and early detection of cancer for easy treatment.
“People often seek medical support when they are already at an incurable stage because they delayed screening. It is better that a woman is examined every month,” Uwikindi remarked.
This campaign also includes explanation of measures to prevent breast cancer and on how women can do a monthly self-examination of their breasts.