Be­have your­self or be fired, First Lady warned

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Lim­pho Sello

THE First Lady, ‘Mae­sa­iah Tha­bane, has been warned against en­gag­ing in any scan­dalous be­hav­iour that could bring the Fo­rum of the African First Ladies against Cer­vi­cal, Breast and Prostate can­cer into dis­re­pute. Ms Tha­bane, who as­sumed the chair of the Fo­rum at the 12th Stop Cer­vi­cal, Breast and Prostate Can­cers in Africa Con­fer­ence (SCCA) in Maseru this week, was warned that she risked be­ing fired for er­rant be­hav­iour. The warn­ing was de­liv­ered by the founder of the Princess Nikky Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion, Princess Nikky Ony­eri, who hails from Nige­ria. The SCCA con­fer­ence was or­gan­ised in part­ner­ship with the Princess Nikky Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion. The warn­ing comes barely a week af­ter Ms Tha­bane was in­volved in a phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion with a Ha Tšolo (Maseru) woman at Maseru Pri­vate Hospi­tal. Ms Tha­bane al­legedly beat up the woman, ’Man­thatisi Mabuthile, af­ter a mis­un­der­stand­ing over the woman’s sis­ter who was hit by one of the First Lady ’s of­fice cars which was trans­port­ing her staff from a can­cer aware­ness road show that was held in prepa­ra­tion for the SCCA. The First Lady’s of­fice has nonethe­less de­nied that she started the fight. Her al­leged vic­tim, ‘Man­thatisi Mabuthile, nonethe­less in­sist that she did.

The SCCA con­fer­ence which was held un­der the theme, ‘Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in women, men and chil­dren’s lives’, be­gan on Sun­day and ended yes­ter­day.

Ms Tha­bane was made chair­per­son of the Fo­rum of African First Ladies against Cer­vi­cal, Breast and Prostate Can­cers at the of­fi­cial open­ing cer­e­mony of the chair of the SCCA in Maseru on Mon­day.

It was then that Princess Ony­eri warned Ms Tha­bane against abus­ing her new po­si­tion to un­der­mine and dis­re­spect her fel­low African first ladies dur­ing her one-year term.

Princess Ony­eri told Ms Tha­bane that her new po­si­tion did not make her any su­pe­rior to other first ladies and should al­ways re­mem­ber that all first ladies were equal.

Ms Tha­bane was fur­ther told that er­rant be­hav­iour would be pun­ished by de­throne­ment.

“We don’t want the of­fice of the chair­per­son­ship to be put to shame and if there is any scan­dal or any­thing we will with­draw the chair­per­son­ship,” Princess Ony­eri said.

Princess Ony­eri also in­formed Ms Tha­bane that it was manda­tory for her to al­ways con­sult the Fo­rum’s di­rec­tors be­fore mak­ing any de­ci­sions on be­half of the Fo­rum.

Princess Ony­eri fur­ther said that Ms Tha­bane will be ex­pected to fre­quently travel around the world to mo­bilise re­sources for the fight against can­cer in Africa, adding that they hoped that she would not make ex­cuses to avoid ful­fill­ing her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“We hope that you will not turn us down and tell us that you are very busy,” Princess Ony­eri said.

On her part, Ms Tha­bane ex­pressed her de­light on as­sum­ing the chair of the Fo­rum.

She pledged to work tire­lessly to equip Africans with knowl­edge, im­prove health ser­vices as well as es­tab­lish and equip the African coun­tries with can­cer cen­tres to pro­vide good care for pa­tients on the con­ti­nent.

“In the African con­ti­nent I will also make ef­forts to in­crease public aware­ness cam­paigns, ad­vo­cacy and public ed­u­ca­tion. I will en­cour­age our (African) na­tions to screen early for can­cer and to mo­bilise re­sources.

“I will work closely with my fel­low first ladies, the fo­rum of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and the women’s cau­cuses and other lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional part­ners to beat can­cer,” Ms Tha­bane said.

Ms Tha­bane noted that cases of can­cer were on the rise in Le­sotho and they were fu­elled by the high preva­lence of HIV and AIDS as well as the lack of aware­ness among the cit­i­zens.

She said Le­sotho would em­bark on a cam­paign to raise can­cer aware­ness and to mo­bilise funds to not only build treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties but also strengthen cur­rent and fu­ture in­ter­ven­tions aimed at de­feat­ing can­cer.

Ms Tha­bane said Le­sotho had made progress in the fight against can­cer, adding that the gov­ern­ment had al­ready drafted the Ra­di­a­tion Pro­tec­tion Agency Bill which will cul­mi­nate in the es­tab­lish­ment of a spe­cialised agency that will over­see the op­er­a­tion of a can­cer treat­ment cen­tre.

“Can­cers are caus­ing more than eight mil­lion deaths world­wide an­nu­ally and can­cer kills more peo­ple than HIV/AIDS, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and malaria com­bined. Recog­nis­ing that can­cer is no longer only the prob­lem of the de­vel­oped world, African coun­tries need to in­vest sig­nif­i­cantly in mak­ing can­cer screen­ing, di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices avail­able for their pop­u­la­tion.

“Most im­por­tantly we need to work re­lent­lessly to­wards cre­at­ing aware­ness among our peo­ple so that the ef­fort to pro­vide ad­e­quate med­i­cal ser­vices is backed with ef­fec­tive pre­ven­tive mea­sures as well as early di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment which fac­tors sig­nif­i­cantly in re­duc­ing the num­ber of deaths caused by can­cer.

“My coun­try took the chal­lenges posed by the grow­ing bur­den of can­cer very se­ri­ously and started tak­ing con­crete mea­sures un­der a har­monised na­tional frame­work led by Min­istry of Health. The es­tab­lish­ment of the Na­tional Can­cer Con­trol Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, the up­com­ing launch of our Na­tional Can­cer Con­trol Plan as well as our achieve­ment in mak­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing and treat­ment ser­vices avail­able in all health cen­tres in the coun­try are among the con­crete steps we have taken. We are also in the process of es­tab­lish­ing Na­tional Can­cer treat­ment Cen­tre in Maseru,” Ms Tha­bane said.

FIRST Lady ‘Mae­sa­iah Tha­bane.

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