The Observer (Kampala)

4 December 2012

Uganda: Movember Prostate Cancer Campaign Yields Fruits

She had known her husband to have a clear upper lip, so when he let a moustache grow for a month, she was irritated. However, last Friday at Kabira Country Club, Peet Coet Lee, one of the managers at Shoprite, explained to his wife that the no-shaving antics were for raising awareness for prostate cancer.

Shoprite also provided space for purchase of Movember products likeT-shirts and prostate cancer ribbons. There were other activities too - a football match between teams of blue and red - the moustached and non-moustached.

There was also a Mongolian dinner and people feasted on all kinds of meat. Other events were school bazaars at Kabira and Ambrosoli International School. The campaign, according to Belinda Namutebi, the Movember coordinator, received cash contributions from MTN Uganda, Coca-Cola, Ericsson Uganda and Stanbic bank, among others.

Victoria University healthcare centre carried out free screenings for prostate cancer and they received an overwhelming number of more than 150 men. For Namutebi, partnering with Rotary Uganda will expand the campaign to upcountry districts where the elderly are most affected.

The Shs 27m raised will facilitate prostate cancer testing clinics at the grassroots in 2013. Dr Fred Okuku, an oncologist from the Uganda Cancer Institute, hailed the Movember group for the campaign, saying prostate cancer is one of the most deadly cancers and if nothing is done, it will be the next epidemic. He also noted that through the Movember campaign, the institute has received an overwhelming number of patients; so, the drive is bearing fruit.

"We have noticed that what is killing our people is awareness. Very few know that this cancer is there, so, I urge that we have as many Movember campaigns as possible," Okuku said.

Sean Krepp, country director of Grameen foundation, added that Movember has proven to be one of the greatest ways of fighting the different vices among men. Movember is an annual global moustache-growing charity activity organized every November to raise funds and awareness for men's health. It started in Australia in 2003. This is the second year it has been organized in Uganda.

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