Sunday, March 3, 2024
27 C
Brunei Town

Call to reduce inequities, stigma in cancer care

Lyna Mohamad

Bruneians are fortunate that the costs of screening, investigations and treatment of cancer are taken care by the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

This was said by Executive Director of Pantai Jerudong Specialists Centre (PJSC) Dr Haji Mazrul Adimin bin Haji Awang Besar at the World Cancer Day 2022 celebration yesterday.

“However,” he added, “there are still gaps in our knowledge, education and actions in accessing early cancer detection and prevention as we are still tackling cancer at later stages; and for the support from the wider community for challenges faced by cancer patients and their family and carers.

“It is even more so during the past two years with the global COVID 19 pandemic and cancer care, especially cancer prevention works and screening being hit very hard by this pandemic”.

PJSC, he said, through The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC) remains committed in assisting and working together with the Ministry of Health in alleviating these issues.

Dr Haji Mazrul Adimin said that cancer has remained the number one killer in the country for the past 10 years and yesterday was a day of celebration and reflection for those who have survived; a day of appreciation for the resilience and courage of those diagnosed with cancer; a gathering of support for families and careers; and a day of recognition for those dedicated to treating and caring for the patients.

Through the Union for international Cancer Control (UICC), the global movement has set three yearly themes in tackling cancer and this year is the beginning of a new campaign to ‘Close the Care Gap’, he said.

Executive Director of Pantai Jerudong Specialists Centre (PJSC) Dr Haji Mazrul Adimin bin Haji Awang Besar

“This is the year to understand and recognise the inequities in cancer care around the globe, to help reduce stigma and to listen to the perspectives of the people living with cancer and let those lived experiences guide our thoughts and actions.”

He said the event is especially privileged to have the opportunity to be able to view these perspectives of ‘Close the Care Gap’ through expressions of art by cancer patients and survivors in collaboration with other artists specifically Dato Paduka Haji Shofry bin Haji Abdul Ghafor of Rainforest Gallery and Guerilla Architects.

Dato Paduka Haji Shofry collaborated with PJSC last year and has extended his support again this year in coaching PJSC clients in making art as one way of coping and healing.

“This partnership between the cancer community and the public not only provides a social experience that goes both ways; a therapeutic and healing session for patients and survivors, and, a lesson in life for the rest of us, where we learn from their courage, optimism, and resilience but is also an opportunity for our cancer survivors to gain support through meeting and networking with others during these activities.”

He also acknowledged the support by local talent in graffiti work, the Guerilla Architects who sponsored and spent more than 20 hours on the graffiti art wall with some input from patients, launched at yesterday’s event.

“Creatives from the social media sphere have also generously contributed their talent and time in creating content based on UICC’s 21-Day Challenge programme, which has an important role in creating public awareness for a healthier lifestyle and garnering even more support for World Cancer Day from the greater community.”