Nat Awareness Campaign: Pakistan

Pink Ribbon National Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

– Pakistan Project of Women’s Empowerment Group and Vision2015 International

For more than ten years, the pink ribbon is an international symbol of support for breast cancer awareness. Every year in October, citizens are urged to wear pink ribbons in honor of women who are now courageously fighting the battle with breast cancer.

The pink ribbon is an emblem of hope for breast cancer sufferers and for everyone working to fight this curable disease.

Pakistan – Present Scenario

Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer for any Asian population accounting to 40,000 deaths per year. Approximately 1 in 9 of Pakistani women will suffer from breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Whereas very little information is available in Pakistan and only cases at a very advanced stage are reported. With early diagnosis, a patient’s chance of surviving breast cancer is higher than 90%.

A two minute breast self examination can protect females from this most horrifying nightmare. Therefore, creating widespread awareness is the principal goal of the Pink Ribbon Campaign in Pakistan and our Mission is to become Centre of Excellence for Breast Care Information.

Our focus is to raise awareness about

1) The dangerously high level of incidence of breast cancer in Pakistan

2) The disease is curable and need not be made fatal

3) The disease can be detected early, even by simple self diagnosis

4) That life after cancer is worth living


The flow of activities will be:

Generate goodwill - Evoke associations - Encourage mass participation - Build high momentum

Where we are till now

Step I – Women’s Empowerment Group - WEG identified that breast cancer is the most deadly silent killer among women and young girls in Pakistan.

Step II – WEG tried to collect the data and information about the disease and we found out that there is no source of accurate and valid information in Pakistan.

Step III – WEG conceptualized and developed the nationwide breast cancer campaign.

Step IV – Breast cancer being a sensitive female issue, WEG opted for the top-to-bottom approach and targeted the decision makers, government officials, journalists and opinion makers in the first phase of the launch of Pink Ribbon Month in Pakistan.

Ministry of Women Development, Government of Pakistan is the Strategic Partner of the campaign.

Provincial Ministries of Women Development in Sindh and Punjab are also the strategic partners of the campaign.

Pakistan’s Pink Ribbon Campaign, which was launched last year, has won “FrontLine Golden World Award 2005” by International Public Relations Association – IPRA, an apex body of PR practitioners worldwide. Some 239 campaigns for the Golden World Awards were judged by an international jury of 44 senior practitioners drawn from 26 countries.

Another significance of this is that this is the first award given to any Pakistani campaign in the 50 years of IPRA.

Additionally, Ministry of Health Government of Punjab in collaboration with us is in the process of starting a pilot project for Lahore district in which 50 health centers and 3700 LHVs will be used in the training of Breast Self Examination to masses and further screening process. This will be then replicated to other parts of the country.

Delivery Mechanism

A four-prong plan for creating widespread awareness will be followed, which will include:

Prong I – Government Relations

· Government of Pakistan has developed a population policy, which emphasizes Reproductive Health (Breast and cervical cancer being part of the RH package). However about a couple of years back, after a consultative process of all the stakeholders, only four components of RH package (FP, infant health, maternal health and STI/HIV) were selected as top priority.

We intend to lobby with key policy planners to include breast cancer in RH package.

· Setting up a ‘Cancer Registry’ for recording and maintenance of a database that is a true representative of the country, to be used in research and planning long term strategy.

· Advocacy for treatment facilities so that all drugs, testing and therapy equipment imported to Pakistan are duty free.

· Exemption from tax for fund-raising and government rates on media for the breast cancer campaign.

Prong II – Mass Awareness Drive

· A bi-lingual interactive website that will enable women to seek and exchange information, ideas and views with each other.

· A campaign conducted through the media. Press releases, articles and interviews in the print media and investigative news stories and interviews in the electronic media.

· Distribution of explanatory brochures in easy to understand language to millions of women across the country through various means like handouts etc.

· Seminars and Workshops in various cities and focused presentations to targeted audiences like college girls – using this generation as influencer on older generation.

· Setting up Patient Support Groups and linking patients with each other so that they can learn from each others experience.

· Training programs for patients and their kin on disease, treatment, therapy, nutrition, how to look good and “Living with Breast Cancer”

· Creation of network of other organizations working in the same direction and strengthening the base of this program nationwide.

· Public service commercials on popular radio and television channels.

· Establishing a 0-800 toll free helpline.

· Establishing Volunteer Support Groups in main cities – to raise awareness, to participate with time in ground activities, to carry out fundraising etc.

· Initiating research to investigate the increase in incidence rate of breast cancer in our part of the world.

Prong III – Reaching the Grassroots

Training of Lady Health Workers - LHWs across the country, to educate, diagnose the disease and refer new cases to tertiary care hospitals. Besides working as a support group, they can be effective counselors for those already suffering with the disease.

National Program for Family Planning and Primary Health care has 100,000 LHWs working in almost every part of Pakistan and providing primary health care facilities to the community.

A Single LHW is posted for 1000 houses. One supervisor is assigned the task of supervising 30 LHWs.

LHWs report to their supervisors once per week and submit their progress reports and HMIS tools. Every LHW maintains a book register of logistics.

Prong IV – Long-term Vision

To set up at least four dedicated breast clinics with state-of-the-art facilities in remote areas in each province like Multan for Punjab, Nawabshah for Sindh, Mardan for N.W.F.P. and Quetta for Baluchistan to reach the maximum women with lowest socio economic status.

Office: 190/2-C Model Town, Lahore Ph: 042-5837226 Fax: 042-5860692 URL: Email:

Pink Ribbon Organization

LINK to Pakistan-based group on Breast Cancer

Allama Iqbal Medical College

LINK to information about this Lahore, Pakistan collge

Remember we are NOT Doctors and have NO medical training.

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