The first Mammography or Cancer machine is expected to be purchased and sent to Vanuatu next month.
This has been confirmed by the President of the Fundraising Committee of the machine, Shirley Joy who says it is funded by the Ambassador of Morocco to Vanuatu, Karim Medrek who is expected to hand it over to the Government on his next trip to Port Vila next month.
“We need to organise ourselves to meet with the Director General of Foreign Affairs and Director General of Health to liaise to plan the handing over ceremony to the Government”, Mrs Joy says.
Describing the assurance to her Committee as the “best news to date” since it had fundraised both in Port Vila and Brussels and raised approximately Vt2 million towards the cost of the machine, she says the beauty about donor partners on the African continent is that they literally understand the importance of such a machine because they too see death from breast cancer so they understand why it is vital to have such a machine in the hospital locally.
“What opened my eyes was that I lost my first cousin who was only 43 years old to cancer while she had her life still in front of her”, she recalls.
“I realised that she was not the only one and young mothers like her were dying left, right and centre of cancer in the country and there was nothing that I could do simply because our country had no mammography or cancer machine to help our women detect the signs in advance”.
Her committee also knows that the cost of a new machine stands at an astronomical amount of Vt50 million.
“We can continue to fundraise towards the price while our women continue to die so we thank our Creator that in the world today there are exceptional people including Ambassador Karim Medrek, who understand the urgency of our situation and are willing to buy the machine for us”, she says.
The advantage on the long run is that there won’t be any need to send blood samples to Australia for tests to confirm whether or not a patient has cancerous strain in her blood.
Mrs Joy says the historical process which also involved her late cousin was that her cousin’s family had to wait for a week for the results of the test to return from Australia. “Her husband received the dreaded call from the then Surgeon Basil McNamara from VCH who confirmed the truth that cancer had filtered through her entire body and she passed away very quickly”, she said.
She is inviting her Committee to an urgent meeting in the Ministry of Trade Conference Room at midday today, to finalise the plan for the handing over ceremony. All members are urged to attend.
Meanwhile the latest victim to cervical cancer passed away at VCH and was buried at the Port Vila Cemetery this week, leaving behind her children and three grandchildren.