Women in Action (WiA), a group of bishops and pastors' wives from the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), is proud to announce two new partnerships which were finalised during September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the availability of a leaflet highlighting the importance of early detection, diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer.
The first new association is WiA's membership of the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC). AORTIC was formed in 1983 by expatriate African cancer care workers, scientists and their friends and is dedicated to the promotion of cancer control in Africa. The organisation's key objectives are to further the research relating to cancers prevalent in Africa, support the management of training programmes in oncology for health care workers, deal with the challenges of creating cancer control and prevention programmes and raise public awareness of cancer in Africa.
WiA is delighted to have been accepted as a member of AORTIC and to benefit from networking with those who share the commitment to provide information which helps to promote cancer control in Africa.
The second association is the development of WiA's existing relationship with the Children's Hematology Oncology Clinics (CHOC). WiA's trained cancer supporters volunteered to visit patients in the wards at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, an offer CHOC accepted. WiA teams will visit the wards weekly from 1 October, entertaining children going through treatment and offering companionship and support to parents or close family members, journeying with them through the treatment process.
One of WiA's initiatives during September was the publication of a leaflet, available in English, Zulu and Sotho, to help raise awareness of the early warning signs of childhood cancer. The earlier cancer is detected, diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. Signs to look out for include prolonged headaches, vomiting, drowsiness, loss of appetite, bruising, nose and gum bleeding, aches and pains, difficulty swallowing, double vision or squinting or slurred speech. Anything out of the ordinary should not be ignored, but reported to a doctor immediately.
As part of its ongoing campaign to create awareness of the importance of early detection and treatment, WiA hosted an educational meeting at the Cenacle of Faith in Park Station on Saturday 15 September. Sunday School teachers and church members who interact with children through their work at crèches, schools and day care centres attended the event, as well as teachers, caregivers and members from as far afield as the Vaal Triangle.
Cancer in children can be treated successfully when the disease is detected early so it is vitally important for parents and those working with children to be aware of the early warning signs which could be related to the disease.
Trained cancer counsellors from WiA have been running a cancer support group: "It's all about you" in Johannesburg since the beginning of this year. As demand for information and a place to journey together through treatment has increased, WiA has extended this service to Soweto and will launch the first support group meeting at the Cenacle of Faith on Tuesday 9 October 2012 at 2pm.
Every alternate Tuesday for five weeks, guest speakers will address the group offering specialist knowledge on their area of expertise and will answer patients' questions. Guest speakers include oncologists, social workers, a nutritionist and a cancer survivor. Following the address, patients and their families meet in small groups led by a trained facilitator where they can learn from each other, share concerns and benefit from space and time to absorb information and receive emotional and spiritual support.
As October is International Breast Cancer Month, the first speaker will be from the Breast Health Foundation and will offer insights and information as part of WiA's campaign to create awareness of symptoms and the importance of early detection and treatment of breast cancer in both women and men.
For further information, please contact Nametso Mofokeng at the church's public relations department on 011 224 3400 or email .