On February 28, riders, doctors and volunteers begin a 7-day mission across the UAE
- First mobile mammography clinic in the world will offer free breast examinations to UAE citizens and residents through the year
- The AED15 million mammography unit is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostics equipment and latest technologies to offer breast and cervical cancer tests
Dr Sawsan Al Madhi: The Pink Caravan's permanent mobile clinic signals a fruition of seven years of breast cancer awareness efforts.
Sharjah, February 19, 2018: The Pink Caravan Ride's higher organising committee held a press conference in Sharjah today (Monday) to announce that the eighth edition of the annual pan-UAE breast cancer awareness initiative will be accompanied by a mobile mammography unit that will offer free, specialised imaging services for breast and cervical cancer through the seven-day ride, which will begin in Sharjah on February 28 and conclude on March 6 in Abu Dhabi.
The completion of the permanent mobile clinic marks a new milestone in Pink Caravan's journey of hope and its unremitting efforts. This groundbreaking accomplishment of making the AED 15 million mobile mammography unit – the first one of its kind in the region – operational, has been achieved with the support and patronage of several partners, especially the Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC), the organisers revealed at the event.
Through this mobile mammography clinic, the Pink Caravan Ride campaign, launched by Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), seeks to better its outreach and offer more effective early-detection services, as its medical team will now able to offer free breast cancer screenings and cervical cancer tests not only during the duration of the Pink Caravan Ride, but throughout the year.
Alongside this milestone announcement, the press conference also laid down details of the eighth edition of the ride.
In attendance were HE Reem BinKaram, Head of the Pink Caravan's Higher Organising Committee; Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General of FoCP and Head of the Pink Caravan Ride Medical and Awareness Committee; Badr Al Juaidi, Director of the Pink Caravan Ride; HE Salem Al Ghaithi, Director of Sharjah TV – an SMC subsidiary; and HE Jassem Al Blooshi, Head of Organisational Excellence, Sharjah Islamic Bank.
Also present at the conference were Amira Al Fadi, Pink Caravan Ambassador; and Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of Sharjah Department of Government Relations. Sheikh Fahim pledged his participation at the upcoming ride where he will be volunteering as a rider.
HE BinKaram highlighted the enormous efforts of FoCP, which was established in 1999 under the vision and patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and Patron of FoCP. She underlined that FoCP's growing efforts and keenness to offer financial and moral support to cancer patients and their families during their journey of treatment has positively impacted the lives of thousands of people in the UAE.
“As FoCP nears its 20th anniversary, we proudly recall its unprecedented efforts in offering support and treatment to more than 4,200 cancer patients and their families, standing by their side and lighting their path with hope towards recovery,” BinKaram said.
She referred to the ‘Kashf' initiative, which was launched by FoCP in 2010 with the aim of providing early cancer diagnosis services and spreading awareness about methods of examination and prevention from early detectable cancers. The ‘Kashf' programme has six awareness initiatives about different types of cancer, including the Pink Caravan Ride under its umbrella.
BinKaram outlined milestones made by the Pink Caravan over the past seven years under the directives of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and the immense support of his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi.
She recounted that through its 1,640-kilometre journey across the seven emirates in the past seven years, the Pink Caravan Ride has offered medical check-ups worth AED24 million to 48,874 persons, including 32,093 expatriate residents and 16,781 citizens through 578 fixed and mobile clinics.
BinKaram added: “We are honoured today to announce the completion of the Pink Caravan's permanent mobile mammography clinic, which will offer breast cancer detection screenings across the country throughout the year. The clinic, equipped with sophisticated medical infrastructure and latest technologies, with generous support from Sharjah Media Cooperation, is one of our most significant achievements. The clinic will begin providing its services on February 28, with the launching of the eighth Pink Caravan this year.”
“We also announce a new work mechanism this year, where the Pink Caravan will travel across the seven emirates in seven days, instead of 11 days, while medical services will be provided for 12 days in its locations,” she added.
Sharjah's media shares the awareness baton with FoCP
HE Salem Al Ghaithi said: “Achieving the Pink Caravan's goals requires full participation of society – individuals and institutions. In line with our keen interest in participating in events that strengthen collaboration among government and private organisations in Sharjah, we announce today that we will continue our commitment as the campaign's media partner, which was made when Pink Caravan was launched. We also announce our pledge to bear the operational cost of the mobile mammography clinic for this upcoming edition.”
Al Ghaithi continued: “No words can describe our appreciation to His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, for their strong continued support to humanitarian work in Sharjah. The success of the Pink Caravan Ride is owed to them too. With only few days to go before the eighth Pink Caravan Ride begins its journey, we reaffirm its significance in promoting community awareness about the importance of early detection and right and timely treatment.”
The representative of another campaign sponsor, HE Jassem Al Blooshi, Head of Organisational Excellence, Sharjah Islamic Bank, said: “Through the years, the campaign and its partners has met with tremendous success fulfilling the vision of HH the Ruler of Sharjah, to reinforce good health for citizens and residents of Sharjah and the UAE. The Pink Caravan Ride will travel the seven emirates this year in line with the Year of Zayed. Our association is more than just offering patronage – we are proud of the human role we are able to play in furthering the campaign's objective of offering breast cancer awareness and free screenings. I have been following and supporting the ride since its inception, and was even a rider volunteer at one of the editions. I wish the campaign the very best this year and hope your awareness message spreads far and wide.”
To effectively combat cancer, full community participation is essential
Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi gave a detailed presentation about the permanent mobile mammography unit, illustrating the steps and stages of examinations. “The clinic offers a comprehensive package of medical services for women, including clinical breast cancer examination and cervical screening test (Smear), which is the first test to be added to a mobile medical unit globally.”
She added: “The mobile mammography clinic provides 3D mammographic screening, a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool designed for early detection of breast cancer. This test will be offered to women over 40 years, and to those whose clinical examination results show some suspicion. The clinic will also provide a range of other medical tests including checking blood sugar levels, blood pressure, osteoporosis and height and weight measurement.
Al Madhi noted that a detailed report will be issued on each case one week after conducting tests. The clinic is equipped with an advanced television imaging device used to screen women who are under the age of 40 years. “The Pink Caravan's permanent mobile clinic signals a fruition of seven years of breast cancer awareness efforts,” she said.
“During the Pink Caravan's journey over the past seven years, we have witnessed some very inspiring stories. When we had just started with an office of four people, I remember the awareness levels about breast cancer was not as high as it is today, and we had not been taken seriously by many when we first developed our plans and set our goals. Many saw that our goals and objectives may be elusive and difficult to achieve. But with the great faith we have, we managed to make great strides in our journey of awareness and hope. We even succeeded in making breast cancer a community issue that has united all community segments, “Dr. Al Madhi noted.
She stressed that the Pink Caravan will always remain faithful to its cause and press ahead with its efforts to promote awareness of breast cancer and provide free medical checkups for all community members across the seven emirates.
Regarding the medical clinics, she noted that the clinics will receive visitors throughout the seven days from 10am to 6pm at locations selected to be part of the campaign's medical route in each emirate.
Medical Venue Schedule
Day 1 – Sharjah
The PCR medical clinics will operate from 10am to 6pm in selected locations in each emirate. On Day 1, Wednesday, February 28, medical screenings will be offered to both women and men in Sharjah at the Kuwait Hospital. Al Dhaid Hospital, Directorate of Punitive and Correctional institutions and Al Qarain Health Centre will offer screenings to women. The fixed clinic will be available at Al Majaz Waterfront.
Day 2 – Fujairah
On Day 2, Thursday, March 1, medical clinics will be available in Fujairah's Masafi Hospital and the Fujairah Hospital (which will receive men), CosmeSurge and Emirates Hospitals Clinics. The fixed clinic will be stationed at Fujairah Corniche.
Day 3 – Dubai
On Day 3, Friday, March 2, the mobile clinics will be in Dubai's Al Qudra Lakes, Ibn Battuta Mall and Zabeel Park ( which will see men also), while the fixed clinic will be in Dubai Mall.
Day 4 – Ras Al Khaimah
On Day 4, Saturday, March 3, mobile clinics will be available in Ras Al Khaimah, where Abdullah bin Omran Hospital will receive both women and men, and Al Jeer Health Centre and Ras Al Khaimah Hospital will see women. The fixed clinic will be set up in the Al Qawasim Corncihe.
Day 5 – Um Al Quwain
On Day 5, Sunday, March 4, the mobile clinics will reach Umm Al Quwain where Salama Health Centre and Falaj Al Mua'alla Health Centre will receive women and men, besides umm Al Quwain Hospital. The fixed clinic will be available at Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital.
Day 6 – Ajman
On the sixth day, Monday, March 5, mobile clinics will be in Ajman at the University College of Mother and Family Sciences, Umm Al Moumineen Women's Association and Al Hamidiya Health Center (will also receive men) as well as Musheirif Health Centre. The fixed clinic will be available at Ajman Corniche.
Day 7 – Abu Dhabi
On the seventh and final day, Tuesday, March 6, mobile clinics will be available in Abu Dhabi where Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Zayed University and Zayed Military Hospital will receive both women and men, and the fixed clinic will be available at Al Seef Village.
The Pink Caravan Ride route
Badr Al Juaidi outlined the campaign's equestrian route. The ride will flag off at 10am, Wednesday, February 28, from the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, and head to the Kuwait Hospital, and then to Sharjah Municipality and Supreme Council of Family Affairs before stopping at Al Majaz Waterfront at 6pm, travelling 33.1 kilometres.
On the second day, the riders will begin at 10am from City Centre Fujairah, passing by Fujairah Hospital and Fujairah Fort, to stop at Fujairah Corniche at 3pm, traveling 14.9 kilometres.
On its third day, Friday, the ride will kick off at 9am on Jumeirah Road in Dubai, and ride for 6.5 kilometres before stopping at the Etihad Museum in 1, Jumeirah Street at 11:30am.
On the fourth day, Saturday, the riders will move from the Department of Economic Development in Ras Al Khaimah at 10am, heading to Saqr Hospital and then stop at Al Qawasim Corniche at 2pm, travelling 12.2 kilometres.
The Pink Caravan Ride will continue making its way on Sunday, March 4, when it will move from Khalifa Hospital at 9:30am, passing through Umm Al Quwain Hospital and finally arrive at the Executive Council at 2:30pm, traveling 17 kilometres.
On its sixth day, Monday, March 5, the riders will move at 10am from the Rashidiya Ladies Park in Ajman to Ajman Municipality and then Ajman Hotel before stopping at Ajman Corniche at 2pm, traveling 7 kilometres.
On the final day of the tour, Tuesday, March 6, the ride will kick off at 10am from Abu Dhabi Corniche, heading to Sheikh Zayed Mosque and finally stop at Health Point at 4:30pm, traveling 34.9 kilometres.
Al Juadi mentioned that for the first time in PCR's history, the ride will travel for seven days instead of 11. He stressed that their pursuit to intensify efforts in order to expand the scope of awareness activities to reach more people in various community segments.
In addition to the mainstream activities of the Pink Caravan Ride 2018, a series of associated events will be organised in the emirates. In addition to the opening and closing ceremonies in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, respectively, the activities Pink Bite, Pink Strides and Pink Regatta will be organised. The third day of the campaign will feature a Junior Ride on Al Qudra Lakes.
Since its inception in 2011, the Pink Caravan has been actively engaged in highlighting the importance of early detection of breast cancer, and the repercussions of the disease the UAE society and economy have been facing. The Sharjah-based non-profit has played a key role in dispelling misconceptions related to breast cancer, and offered support to patients and their families in need. The work FoCP and PCR have done in the past years have had a significant effect in reducing the spread of breast cancer and diminishing its progression to advanced stages through free medical examinations that have helped save lives of citizens and expatriates alike. Over the past seven years, the PCR campaign has offered free early-detection screenings to 48,873 people of different nationalities and ages, including 9,643 men.