In the current age, nearly everyone has been affected by breast cancer in one way or the other; be it a family member, friend or a colleague who has either been a victim or survivor, but nevertheless has battled for the race of life against breast cancer. Cancer takes its due toll on the sufferer as well as those around them.
According to a report published by Pink Ribbon Charity, in Pakistan approximately 90,000 cases of breast cancer are annually reported, and about 40,000 deaths are caused by it, which makes Pakistan one of the countries with highest rate of Breast Cancer in Asia.
Unfortunately being a developing country in terms of ‘public health prevention’, Pakistan still has to go a long way in spreading awareness against breast cancer at local levels on population grounds. Considering this large gap, Fatima Jinnah Dental College (FJDC) decided to collaborate with Pink Ribbon Charity in their awareness and fund raising drive in 2017-18.
Initially, the college aimed to spread awareness through arranging guest speaker lectures among students and offering free of cost breast screening services at its General Hospital Campus in Azam Basti, which is a relatively underprivileged area in the suburbs of Karachi.
When the Department of Community Dentistry, under supervision of Dr Zubia Waqar, called to the students to volunteer as fund raisers, it received an overwhelming response from both, students of all BDS professional years as well as the higher administration of college.
Ever since the collaboration in 2017, an awareness drive is arranged every year, which extends for a week, with proper advertisement to invite women for free breast cancer screening, along with guest speaker sessions. Furthermore, the students arrange a ‘bake sale event’ to raise funds for breast cancer hospital to be developed by Pink Ribbon Charity.
A small initiative taken by the Department of Community Dentistry & Medicine has turned into one of the greatest FJDC achievements. Owing to the huge support of higher administration and efforts of students, the drive managed to raise a handsome amount of funds that was handed over to Pink Ribbon Society in the allotted time.
It is the second year that Fatima Jinnah Dental College was invited by Pink Ribbon and Higher Education Commission alongside all collaborating institutions to a ceremony in Islamabad in order to recognize the efforts. Dr Zubia Waqar from Department of Community Dentistry attended the ceremony on behalf of Fatima Jinnah Dental College and received a shield for standing at 1st position among all fund raising collaborators. It is indeed a moment of pride for FJDC; being a pioneer institute of dental sciences, now it has also started providing screening services, for free or at minimal cost, for general health. In the long run FJDC plans to continue being a part of different organizations that aim to work and excel in fields of both dental & general public health.