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Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), a UAE based civil society organization dedicated to raising awareness about cancer, held a strategic partnership meeting with a high-level delegation from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to boost collaborative efforts in combating the rising burden of cervical cancer in the Arab region and globally.

The meeting builds on the previsouly signed MOU and partnerhsip between FOCP and UNFPA Arab State Regional Office in 2020 to advance awareness on cancer with a focus on reproductive health cancers, especially cervical cancer in the Arab region. Attended by dignitaries from both sides, the meeting explored ways to expand the already signed UNFPA regional partnership with FOCP to raise awareness and create channels for knowledge sharing on cervical cancer through UNFPA Global Strategic Partnership programme.

HE Sawsan Jafar, Chairperson of FOCP Board of Directors represented the organization at the meeting. Delegates representing UNFPA included HE Mariarosa Cutillo, Chief of the Strategic Partnerships Branch, Division of Communication and Strategic Partnerships at UNFPA; Thafera Al-Shawi, Liaison and Partnerships Officer for UAE at UNFPA \; and Jianing Wang, Partnerships Officer at the UNFPA.

During the meeting, UNFPA delegates introduced the international organization’s work on the global level in elevating and expanding the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives. HE Mariarosa Cutillo, Chief of the Strategic Partnerships Branch, Division of Communication and Strategic Partnerships at UNFPA, said: “UNFPA is keen on further strengthening our long-standing partnership with FOCP to take forward our shared goals in the realm of women’s and girl health. We look forward to leveraging on FOCP’s strengths and pioneering efforts in the region to improve outcomes in combating cervical cancer, and we are happy to continue to extend support to the 3rd Cervical Cancer Forum in 2023.”

FOCP’s role in empowering individuals and communities through health literacy and education and its vital role in turning the tide on HPV and cervical cancer in the region with the hosting of two cervical cancer forums was spotlighted at the meeting. HE Sawsan Jafar, Chairperson of FOCP, discussed the nonprofit’s leading role as an advocate for regional and national cervical cancer strategies.HE highlighted the FOCP proactive role in intensifying its educational awareness programmes and initiatives during the pandemic to highlight the importance of early detection and vaccination.

HE Sawsan Jafar said: “Under the directives and support of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, FOCP has been spearheading efforts to provide holistic care for cancer patients and offer moral and financial support during their healing journey. FOCP has also played a pivotal role in raising awareness of early detection and prevention of all types of cancer and promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst community members. FOCP’s efforts are in line with the comprehensive approach of the UAE government in creating sustainable and equitable cervical cancer and HPV eradication programmes.”

The Chairperson of FOCP Board of Directors added: “We look forward to collaborating with UNFPA to mobilize efforts to combat and raise awareness of the importance of prevention and early detection. FOCP held many educational awareness webinars on cervical cancer in January this year. One targeted women employees at Dubai Taxi Corporation (Pink Taxi) while the second webinar with Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) sought to raise awareness amongst businesswomen. The meeting with UNFPA is important to further collaborate on similar efforts and achieve great outcomes together.”

During the meeting, UNFPA shared an overview of the strategic plan and Youth Advocates Program with FOCP to explore ways of involving its Youth Advocates in awareness raising on Cervical Cancer. UNFPA also outlined details of its global 'Women Empowerment Programme' targeting women in the workplace. The two parties will explore ways to extend collaboration in line with the needs of the communities in the UAE and the wider Arab region. The discussions will be taken forward jointly through a meeting with UNFPA’s technical team at a later stage to set a shared action plan.


Source: National Network Communications – NNC