Dr Jalal Sanad Al Suwaidi, Noora Al Suwaidi and other board members at the launch of the Cancer Patient Care Society called Rahma, in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi: Aimed at providing round-the-clock advice and support for cancer patients, a newly launched centre hopes to reach those living in the most remote areas of the country.
Launched yesterday (Tuesday) evening in the capital, the Cancer Patient Care Society (Rahma, meaning ‘mercy’) is going to hold a number of campaigns in the capital informing people of the importance of getting screened for cancer and some of the disease’s symptoms.
The free-for-all services, which will include providing financial aid for treatment on basis of merit, will be designed to further understand patients’ needs and answer frequently asked questions and concerns when it comes to the disease.
“Currently, cancer patients in the UAE are about 70 per cent expats and the remainder is made up of Emiratis. We aim to reach the fisherman in Fujairah and the illiterate, and make cancer a topic that everybody is able to discuss without hesitation or limitations. We are also planning on setting up a database of all those inflicted and conducting focus groups in order to better understand our demographics,” said Noora Al Suwaidi, Rahma’s secretary-general.
The society’s Chairman, Dr Jalal Sanad Al Suwaidi, was himself diagnosed with cancer and treated at a US-based hospital.
“We are planning on partnering with the same institution and working with them to adopt the best practices for helping patients,” Noora added.
As of 2014, cancer was the third leading cause of death in the UAE ahead of cardiovascular diseases and accidents, accounting for about 500 deaths every year, the Ministry of Health announced.
“If a patient calls us saying that their doctor has prescribed a certain diet and they require assistance, we can send a specialist from Rahma to help them in choosing their groceries or preparing their food for instance,” Noora added.
The society will not provide physical treatment to victims aside from psychiatric help and moral support. It currently has four social workers enlisted although volunteers are also welcome.
The number of cancer patients in the UAE has increased over the past three years, a video shown by Rahma during the kick-off revealed.
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