ABU DHABI, 7th March, 2018 (WAM) — Around 5,160 free breast screenings and medical examinations have been conducted by the Pink Caravan Ride’s medical teams stationed in all seven emirates – the first time the 5,000+ mark has been hit in just seven days.
The Higher Steering Committee has revealed that these numbers will continue to grow as the fixed medical clinics across the UAE will continue to remain functional until 11 March, urging citizens and residents to make the most of the opportunity to receive free screenings and expert medical advice.
The launch of the Pink Caravan’s Mobile Medical Unit with the latest 3D mammography and imaging services as well as ultrasound facilities has been instrumental in boosting up numbers, and has given people free-of-cost access to screenings that are otherwise both expensive and not very easy to find.
“The numbers of screenings we have conducted this year have shown a considerable increase compared to last year. We have been offering free examinations to over 50 walk-ins every day this year vis-à-vis 30 in 2017. This van has offered women greater access to these tests, especially because sometimes women above the age group of 40 years have to drive hundreds of kilometres to find a hospital to offer the tests that we do in this van,” according to mammogram experts Amel and Eman, from the Sharjah Ministry of Health supervising the mobile unit at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi On the last day of the awareness campaign on Tuesday, Amel added, “The mammogram unit in this clinic can conduct a screening in less than five minutes and has the ability to taken in the next patient within five seconds. This is the first caravan that is equipped with on-the-spot 2D and 3D mammography facility that can perform stereotactic tests as well as extra views.”
For their final horseback journey of the edition yesterday, the riders set off at Abu Dhabi Corniche, and travelled 12.4 km, making two stops at the Abu Dhabi Corniche Marina Mall and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque before reaching the finish line at Health Point Hospital.
At the end of the eighth Pink Caravan Ride, screenings, mammograms and expert medical advice was offered to 5,160 people – the highest number the initiative has reached within seven days of campaigning in its eight-year history. The Medical Awareness Committee of ride revealed the breakup that includes 4,542 women and 618 men. These numbers comprise 1,059 locals and 4,101 expatriates, constituting 1,602 people in the 40+ age category and 3,558 individuals below 40 years of age. After the initial screenings, 3,509 walk-ins were given the safe card, 277 were referred for a mammogram, and 1,424 were advised to undergo an ultrasound.
The remarkable number of people in the under 40-year category who came in for these screenings reveals the changing perception about health and wellbeing, and people’s increasing awareness about breast cancer starting to affect younger women due to changing lifestyles, food habits, marriage, child birth and other factors.
The conclusion of the ride in Abu Dhabi was followed by the camping’s closing ceremony, which was held at the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, in the presence of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of for Tolerance. Prominent UAE figures and VIPs were also in attendance, along with all volunteering riders, equines, medical experts, the events, logistics and media committees, and everyone else who contributed in any way to the eighth edition.
In her welcome note, Reem BinKaram, Head of the Pink Caravan’s Higher Steering Committee, said, “As long as we believe that we are children of goodness and support charity and keep moving on, we would have had fulfilled our mission as humans. We are in the Year of Zayed which made us even more energetic and enthusiastic in this eighth edition of the Pink Caravan Ride to supersede all that we have done in the past to uphold and celebrate the our great founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose community spirit has been the principal driving force behind all the advancements our nation has made in harnessing the abilities of our human capital and giving them a good life.”
“PCR in its eighth edition has witnessed participation of 200 plus riders, and covered over a 1,000 kilometres across the UAE. In eight years, we have spanned over 17,000 kms in our pursuit of reaching out to people with awareness and hope. The ride has been achieving its objectives under the vision and guidance of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah; and his wife H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Founder and Royal Patron of the ‘Friends of Cancer Patients’ (FoCP), International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, and we thank their great efforts in developing the health of the UAE’s society in the most practical and effective ways,” she concluded.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, who has been a longstanding supporter and ambassador of the Pink Caravan Ride, said, “This eighth edition coincides with Year of Zayed, and revives in our heart our fondness for our founding father. Sheikh Zayed played a great role in developing human capital and has done a lot to improve the quality of life in the UAE. It is his legacy that we are taking forward today. I also express heartfelt gratitude to our wise leadership. We take great pride in the path they have paved for us to walk on.”
While the nation’s battle against breast cancer is far from over, the UAE community’s awareness and eagerness to seek counsel and medical support is much higher now than it used to be, thanks to Pink Caravan Ride’s seven-year long efforts. From its first year, the Pink Caravan has made a significant difference to people’s attitude towards breast cancer and made information more accessible to more people.