How Women Are Leading The Fight Against Breast Cancer In The Gambia

Women in The Gambia have been at the forefront of fighting breast cancer through various activities. Apart from raising awareness, women have pressured the Gambian government to provide the necessary health equipment to accommodate breast cancer patients.

Despite the continuous engagement with the government, most women diagnosed with breast cancer have traveled to neighboring Senegal to get the necessary treatment which is quite expensive, making it difficult for many people.

Still in the struggle, Gambian women have never stopped their fight for a cause. In 2019, over ten cancer foundations formed The Cancer Association League The Gambia—a non-profitable organization fighting breast cancer in The Gambia.

Led by women, including survivors, their activities have been very impactful to Gambian society. The organization partnered with Senegalese doctors to offer free cancer screening for women in The Gambia. 

According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world.

Recent Global Cancer Statistic 2020: GLOBOCAN reveals that female breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with an estimated 2.3 million new cases.

The fight against breast cancer in The Gambia—has never been an easy one, yet many people give it all out to raise awareness and support women battling the deadly disease.

In observance of Pink October, The Sister Show wants to celebrate four incredible Gambian women—who have never stopped a minute from fighting breast cancer and cancer in general in The Gambia.

SOME OF THE GAMBIAN WOMEN LEADING THE FIGHT FOR YEARS

Ida Ceesay-Ndiaye

Not many survivors will speak up in The Gambia. Especially with the known culture of silence. 

Ida Ceesay-Ndiaye is a survivor of breast cancer—who has come all out to raise awareness, share her story, and support Gambian women beat cancer. 

Been diagnosed with cancer in 2013 while pursuing her master’s degree, Ceesay-Ndiaye never for a moment stopped caring for her family and continuing her studies. After a full recovery, the cancer survivor—aimed to be a warrior by starting her foundation, raising awareness, and supporting women. 

Later she joined multiple cancer fighters in The Gambia to start The Cancer Association League The Gambia. This non-profitable organization has been leading the fight against cancer in the Gambia.

Ceesay-Ndiaye has been on several media platforms making sure cancer is openly talked about—she encourages other survivors to share their stories.

Ya Awa Conateh

Ya Awa Conateh, a fashion designer and a breast cancer warrior, is the founder of  Sainey’s Cancer Awareness Foundation (SCAF).

Paying homage to her sister who passed away battling Breast Cancer, Ya Awa’s organization aimed to use arts and media to engage and promote awareness education about cancer while providing support for local communities.

The organization has several activities during October—this year, they are carrying out a nationwide tree planting in The Gambia, which aims at “engaging the women farmers to educate” them about the positive effects of agriculture on cancer. With the theme “ plant a tree in honor of a loved one.”

Kumba Daffeh-Kah

One of Gambia’s most incredible women supporting women,  Kumba daffeh-kah is the founder of Tresor women Warriors —an organization helping women to be financially independent. 

Daffeh-Kah has been a critical figure in the fight against cancer in the Gambia; among them is her work with the cancer association league The Gambia.

Agi Daffeh

A social entrepreneur, Agi Daffeh founded African Women Against Cancer—an organization fighting cancer in Africa since 2004. With numerous impacts in Africa, Agi, through her organization, is a crucial player in the fight against breast cancer in The Gambia.

Still In The Struggle

Despite the unstopped awareness, many African countries struggle for better health equipment to beat breast cancer due to the low health cancer standard available.

In the Gambia, BMC health services research indicates the country has one of the lowest surviving rates for breast cancer due to several factors, including “a delay within the healthcare system and decreased availability of resources.” 

Another major factor causing more death rate in cancer is the stigma surrounding it within Gambian society; thus, many do not go to a hospital which lengthens detection. 

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