Cervical Cancer Campaign


Campaign „My life is my song“ raising awareness on prevention of cervical cancer in Bosnia Herzegovina and Western Balkans

 

 

 

According to the Ministries of health, cervical cancer is the second malignant disease and one of the highest causes of mortality among women in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The highest problem is a lack of regular gynecological checkups, lack of PAP tests and HPV tests, as well as the lack of capacity for accurate tests on PAP tests and HPV tests. Additionally, funding and strategic frameworks are lacking to ensure HPV vaccination and the other prevention measures.

According to WHO, cervical cancer incidence rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 13.2. Cumulative risk rate of cervical cancer in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 0.9. Annual number of deaths among women in Bosnia and Herzegovina caused by cervical cancer is 119 cases, which is extremely total, considering a total number of BiH population estimated at 3,5 – 3,8 million, depending on sources (no census). Women make up approximately 50% of total population.

UNFPA Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina supported the planning and implementation of an awareness and fund raising campaign awareness on prevention of cervical cancer in  „My life is my song” 2010 and January 2011.

In 2010 big posters were produced and distributed and a PR campaign launched through a press conference in Sarajevo on 28th of December 2010. UNFPA BiH promotional materials were distributed along with UNFPA press statement in accordance with the cancer prevention programme development which is planned through UNFPA BiH CPAP 2010-2014 and AWP 2011.

Pamphlets on HPV and cervical have been produced, with the key message “HPV is preventable – mission possible”. UNFPA ensured production of one specific pamphlet for girls and women, explaining susceptibility to HPV infection and cancer and the other pamphlet for boys and men, outlining the role of men in preventing transmission of HPV. 

The main idea was that through music and song to draw public attention of the urgent need to act on prevention of HPV and cervical cancer among the women of reproductive age in BiH and the region as well as to introduce methods of cervical cancer prevention. Mobilising support from boys and men and awareness raising on their responsibility in preventing HPV and cancer was also included in the campaign.

UNFPA supported recording of the song “My life is my song” and video clip by four singers, famous regional divas. The singers used Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Macedonian languages respectively in the song.  The song text summarized the feeling of hope, the possibility to fight and prevent cancer, in an artistic way, through sensitive text and music. UNFPA arranged English translation of the song and its sub-titling.   Promotion of the song and the topic was ensured through Facebook, radio and TV.

Phone calls donations through telephone lines were initiated, with the support of BiH Telecom.

 

The goals of the campaign were as follows:

1.    To set the stage for more enhanced work on establishing cervical cancer prevention program in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to mobilize political support and donor interest. In the Country Programme Action Plan 2010-2014 UNFPA BiH and the Council of Ministers of BiH have committed to developing and implementing cervical cancer prevention programme, with focus on population screening and strengthening capacities of cito-screeners, as at present a large portion of the test has falsely positive or negative results. Significant portion of funds required is still lacking.

2.    To encourage young girls and women to take PAP tests and HPV tests and to influence government to invest more funding into prevention programme in the country.

3.    To raise awareness among decision makers and the general public of the importance of cervical cancer prevention;

4.    to make available the tools for preventing cervical cancer and encourage women to take full advantage of these tools;

5.    to mobilize the public so that all participate together in creating public pressure on the decision making bodies, parliaments and the ministries to dedicate more to solving the issue of high number of cervical cancer cases in the country;

6.    to add optimism through support to women with cancer.

 

Implementing Partners:

Coloseum Tuzla, PR Company and ‘Renesansa’ NGO Tuzla.

 

Immediate Action

An auction was held on 25th of January 2011 in Bosniak Institute Sarajevo, with a number of arts pieces offered pro bono by known artists. International core representatives and other high level officials were invited and purchased the arts pieces. However, more importantly the action influenced attitude change among the decision makers and international community representatives.

A ninety minute concert by four major regional divas was held on 26 January, within a European focus week on cervical cancer prevention in Sarajevo (Nina Badric-Croatia, Karolina Goceva-Macedonia, Aleksandra Radovic – Srbija and Maya Sar – Bosnia and Herzegovina) in one of the highest standards concert halls in the country.