First Lady Indonesia launches National 'Female Cancer' Programme

On Tuesday, 21 April 2015, the launch of the National Prevention Programme for the Early Detection of Breast and Cervical Cancer was held by the First Lady and her supporters of strong women; the spouses of governors from different parts of Indonesia.

A doctor gives information about cervical cancer to the wife of the Governor of Jakarta.

From 12 different regions in Indonesia, located in Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara, the launch was broadcast live on television and informed the Indonesian people about the health program. In one morning, this created tremendous "awareness" throughout Indonesia for both forms of female cancer. With (informative) commercials, a special VIA song and the symbolic support by the well-known women of Indonesia together with the well-known healthcare organizations such as the Cancer Indonesia Foundation (YKI) and the Family and Family Welfare Foundation (PKK), this will generate a huge reach.

Live broadcast of the national prevention program from 12 different areas in Indonesia.

I attended the launch from Puskesmas Jatinegara (a health center) in Central Jakarta and it was an amazing experience. While the filming of the live broadcast was in full swing, dozens of women were simultaneously being screened for breast and cervical cancer. Some positive VIA results were found, detecting abnormal cell formation that increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. These women could receive direct cryogas treatment for an overall fee. However, all women first went home to seek permission from their husbands, which is normal practice in Indonesian culture. After obtaining consent, hopefully they will all return for treatment at the puskesmas or hospital.

Women line up to sign up for VIA screening.

The ambition and goal of the Female Cancer Foundation is to reduce and eventually eliminate cervical cancer, which is a real goal. The number of women with advanced cervical cancer is very high in Indonesia, especially in poor areas. This is due to no or poor access to medical care and resources, no or little financial resources and cultural-religious obstacles such as a taboo on sexually related diseases.

Awareness materials on breast and cervical cancer.

FCF, together with the Female Cancer Program Indonesia, has contributed immensely in recent years to creating awareness, providing medical training and education to doctors and midwives, supporting screening and implementing a simple cervical cancer treatment method. The Indonesian healthcare system is increasingly aware of the fight against cervical cancer and this is fully reflected in the implemented national prevention program announced during the launch.

Jakarta governor's wife talks to Dr. Gatot of FCP about the program.

Ultimately, in the future, it will be up to Indonesia itself to keep their women healthy with their own resources. It is great to see how driven and enthusiastic the cervical and breast cancer program was introduced and received. In addition, little by little, there is more access to talk about sexually related diseases. An important step forward on the long patient path to a cervical cancer-free Indonesia.

Group photo of FCP Jakarta, midwives and some stakeholders from different health organizations.