Mauritius: The Media Trust of Mauritius hosted today a half-day workshop for journalists on Cancer Prevention, Sensitisation and Awareness, in Port Louis, with the aim of familiarising the local press representatives with different areas related to Cancer. The workshop led by medical experts was attended by some 10 participants.
In his opening address, the Chairperson of the Media Trust, Chayman Surajbali, highlighted that this training session is being organised in collaboration with Aegle Cancer Hospital (ACH) experts and expressed hope that participants acquire the necessary skills and information so as to effectively report on subjects related to Cancer.
Moreover, he indicated that the influencing and education power of journalists could be of utmost importance in order to bring about significant change and reverse the rate of Cancer by working in collaboration with medical professionals and researchers who have plans afoot to fight the disease.
“Research and treatment have progressed considerably, but cancer cannot be tackled only in laboratories and clinics and cannot be the sole responsibility of health specialists,” the Chairperson stressed.
On this score, Surajbali remarked that campaigns as regards cancer can address not only in the media but also in schools and at the workplace. “Better health policies and healthy lifestyle choices can be propagated in this way,” he pointed out.
Furthermore, the Chairperson underscored that statistics show that up to 40% of cancer cases are preventable, and, in this context, media action can be decisive in helping to slow the progress of the disease and eventually halt it.
On this note, Mr Surajbali encouraged the collaboration of each and everyone to break the taboo surrounding cancer disease for the benefit of society by being more persistent and braver in tackling this taboo. “Media people can participate in breaking the silence through their action and expertise in communication, experience and insight,” he said.
Resource persons for the half-day seminar were from ACH, namely, the Chief Executive Officer, Dr Teenushka Issarsing, Dr Feilah Jeenathally, and the Radiation Oncologist, Dr Jayant Bhagarv.
The topics covered during the half-day training included: An assessment of the situation at the local level: the most prevalent forms of Cancer and accessibility to treatment; cancer prevention and the role of the media and media representation as regards Cancer; and cancer treatment options.
It is recalled that Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, and, according to Global Statistics, Cancer was the cause of nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, representing nearly one in six deaths globally.
As per statistics of the National Cancer Registry 2021, in Mauritius, the number of new Cancer cases per year adds up to 2866, out of which there are 1575 deaths.
With proper plans and measures taken, the population can be protected from Cancer disease, and this can be achieved through, notably: early diagnosis of the disease at a curable stage and; timely and appropriate treatments, in particular at a comprehensive Cancer centre which can improve the survival of Cancer patients by as high as 85%.