The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Pink Pakistan Trust, Karachi, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting breast cancer awareness and women’s health in Pakistan.
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women in Pakistan. HEC and Pink Pakistan have joined hands to raise awareness about breast cancer and promote early detection and treatment. By working together, HEC and Pink Pakistani hope to make a meaningful contribution toward improving women’s health and well-being in the country.
The signing ceremony, held at HEC Secretariat in Islamabad, was presided over by Chairman HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed. The LoI was signed by President, Pink Pakistan Dr Zubaida Qazi and Director General, National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE) HEC Mr Muhammad Faisal Butt. Executive Director HEC Dr Shaista Sohail also attended the ceremony.
Under the LoI, HEC and Pink Pakistan will collaborate on a range of initiatives to raise awareness about breast cancer, including seminars, workshops, and awareness campaigns at universities and colleges across Pakistan. The two sides will also work together to promote research on breast cancer and develop resources and materials to support women’s health and well-being.
HEC will also request the universities to grant priority to the research around breast cancer. Both sides will also deliberate facilitating a project in medical universities for initiating focused, robust, and ground-breaking research in the area of breast cancer.
In his remarks at the signing ceremony, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed stressed the importance of addressing the issue of breast cancer on priority, stating that “we need to take urgent action to raise awareness about breast cancer and to promote early detection and treatment. By partnering with Pink Pakistan, we hope to make a real difference in the lives of women and their families across the country.” The Chairman also highlighted that HEC would fund research in various strategic areas including research on causes and treatments of breast cancer.
Dr Zubaida Qazi expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with HEC on this important issue, stating that “breast cancer is a major public health issue as it is leading cancer in women in Pakistan and cases are being reported at a young age with high mortality rate. We lack respective research and risk factors with respect to Asian culture as most of the research is conducted on the western population.”
She said that it is high time to work together to raise awareness of early detection and subsequent treatment to support women’s health and well-being at the primary level. “HEC is the biggest platform for initiatives in the higher education sector and engaging universities in awareness programmes. In Pakistan, women lack basic knowledge about early detection and screening mammography due to culturally inculcated shyness and taboo associated with this disease.”
She apprised the audience that breast cancer is one of the curable diseases if early detected. She said that a mobile application has been developed exclusively for breast cancer education, self-examine methods, and consultation links for succeeding treatment procedures.”