MUSCAT: Oman Cancer Association’s (OCA) Mobile Mammography Unit (MMU) may be no more as the organization is struggling to raise funds for the MMU’s expenses.
The MMU costs OMR 118,000 annually to operate where the funds include insurance, maintenance of the machine and truck, and salaries.
“This year we will concentrate not only on Dar Al Hanan, but also the MMU because it needs a lot of funds to keep it going,” said Dr. Wahid Al Kharusi, OCA’s new President.
“If we don’t raise this money, we will have to close the doors of the MMU and a lot of people will suffer,” he added.
To tackle the money situation, Nasser Al Azri, OCA’s Secretary General, volunteered to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with the aim of raising funds to keep the MMU rolling. Al Azri will take seven days to climb 50 kilometers and will have six stops. Al Azri will plant a flag on each stop bearing OCA’s logo including the sponsors’ logos. The higher he goes will indicate what level the sponsor is where the diamond sponsor will have the flag planted on the peak of the mountain.
“The idea is not only to climb but also to create awareness of OCA and to raise funds by sponsors and people individually sponsoring him,” said Al Kharusi.
Al Azri said, “I’ll climb to show the community that nothing is impossible and that reflects also on the cancer patients that curing from cancer is not impossible and together we can spread awareness about early diagnosis as well as educate people about early diagnosis.”
Al Azri is set to climb the mountain at the end of July and OCA is currently looking for sponsors to fund the expedition. He is also currently training with a cross fit team to get him fit enough to handle the climb.
When asked how much OCA is targeting, Al Azri said, “The sky is the limit. We want to try and get as much as we possibly could.”
Cancer prevention is one of the main issues OCA is looking at solving where Al Kharusi is encouraging all people to get diagnosed for cancer earlier in their life in order to get treated and cured earlier.
Al Kharusi revealed that since 2009, the MMU screened over 15,000 women and a significant number of them came back positive. Those who were diagnosed with cancer were immediately assigned a consultant and began treatment.
“Cancer is increasing and costs a lot of money to even create awareness. It costs a lot of money to have equipment to diagnose patients with cancer,” said Al Kharusi.
“If you look at this region, especially in East Africa, cancer is increasing and people are dying because of the lack of diagnosis and lack of treatment,” he added.
He reiterated that the natural concept is to create prevention and raise awareness about prevention because “it is one way of defeating cancer”.
“Prevention is the only answer for low and middle income countries,” said Al Kharusi.