Abu Dhabi: Recent data provided by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) shows that more than 60 per cent of breast cancer cases in the UAE are detected late with less chance of a cure compared to only 20 per cent in the US.

With that in mind, a team of six HAAD members took part in the Global Initiative for Breast Cancer Awareness to promote the first national campaign in the UAE against breast cancer.

The programme is designed to create sustainable breast cancer outreach and education programmes with local partners in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as in seven other countries around the world, Brazil, Costa Rica, Jordan, Mexico, Romania, Saudi Arabia and the Ukraine.

The initiative to take the fight against breast cancer across the UAE to a new level was based on a partnership agreement signed last October between HAAD and Susan Komen from the Institute of International Education (IIE) in the presence of America's first lady, Laura Bush.

Koman has played a critical role for the past 25 years in transforming how the world treats the condition.

Part of HAAD's global initiative to help fight breast cancer included a four-month course which ended on Monday, with the support of 22 organisations, where 80 nominated participants were engaged in community profiling, data collection and identifying gaps in the fight against breast cancer.

Save lives

Participants included doctors, nurses, midwives, health educators, volunteers, university students and employees from both the public and private sector.

"This course will strengthen individual and institutional capacities to launch local breast cancer awareness campaigns, provide effective early detection services and ultimately save lives," said Dr Ahmad Al Mazrouei, Chairman, HAAD.

According to Zaid Al Siksek, CEO of HAAD, the programme's main goal is to create a network of breast cancer activists with the vision, knowledge and skills to set up localised programmes to fight breast cancer.

HAAD held an awards ceremony on Monday to recognise the efforts of the 22 organisers in supporting their fight against breast cancer.

"We would like to thank these organisations who welcomed the opportunity to fight this disease with open arms and have been extremely supportive of the partnership and their employees who were involved in the course," said Dr Oliver Harrison. Director of Public Health & Policy, HAAD.