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Pink Ribbon, HEC honour universities leading breast cancer awareness


Islamabad, AUG 22 /DNA/ – Pink Ribbon Pakistan, in collaboration with the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE) at Higher Education Commission (HEC), hosted an Awards Ceremony at the HEC Headquarters on Tuesday. The event aimed to announce the winners of the PINKtober Youth Awareness Programme for the years 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. It also celebrated the achievement of two million youth ambassadors from across Pakistan who have been educated on breast cancer awareness and prevention.

The event was presided over by Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC and graced by Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director HEC, and Mr. Omer Aftab, Chief Executive Officer of Pink Ribbon. The ceremony saw participation from students, teachers, academic dignitaries, and administrators from various colleges and universities.

A total of 63 awards were presented to universities and colleges in recognition of their exceptional participation in the annual PINKtober campaign. Pink Ribbon Pakistan organises this campaign every October to raise Breast Cancer Awareness. Over 200 educational institutions have contributed through fundraisers, seminars, walks, competitions, and panel discussions under this initiative.

First position awards for the years 2019 to 2022 were conferred upon Kinnaird College for Women University, Government Graduate College for Women Baghbanpura, Mirpur University of Science and Technology, The University of Lahore, Government College University Faisalabad, and Govt. Graduate College for Women Shadbagh.

Government College University Lahore, Institute of Business Administration Sukkur, Government Degree College for Women Kot Khwaja Saeed, WAH Medical College, Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design, Habib University, and Fatima Jinnah Dental College secured the 2nd position in the University and College categories, respectively.

In his address, Chief Guest Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed praised the proactive involvement of students in addressing the critical issue of breast cancer. He highlighted the collaboration between academic institutions and HEC in the Pink Ribbon Youth Awareness Programme, underlining the importance of educating young adults on health awareness, particularly in the face of rapidly spreading breast cancer. Dr. Ahmed urged universities to undertake research projects to understand the reasons behind the alarming prevalence of breast cancer in Pakistan.

Dr. Ahmed highlighted the fruitful partnership between Pink Ribbon and HEC since 2012, resulting in a remarkable milestone—the participation of 2 million sensitised student ambassadors educated on early breast cancer detection, healthy lifestyles, and identifying early signs of the disease. He expressed appreciation for NAHE’s dedicated collaboration with Pink Ribbon in engaging numerous universities each year. Dr. Ahmed conveyed HEC’s heartfelt congratulations to Pink Ribbon for their dedicated efforts in reducing breast cancer mortality rates. He particularly praised the Pink Ribbon Hospital, Pakistan’s first dedicated Breast Cancer Hospital.

Mr. Omer Aftab, CEO of Pink Ribbon Pakistan, highlighted Pink Ribbon’s successful engagement with numerous universities across the country. He acknowledged the crucial role played by HEC’s unwavering support in this achievement. Mr. Aftab emphasised that the partnership has empowered young women with essential knowledge for early breast cancer detection and fostering health-conscious attitudes and lifestyles.

Mr. Aftab also shared that the establishment of a dedicated breast cancer hospital by Pink Ribbon is well underway and is projected to be completed by the end of this year. The hospital’s mission is to provide comprehensive free-of-cost consultation, diagnosis, and financial support to breast cancer patients.

Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director HEC, lauded Pink Ribbon Pakistan’s remarkable accomplishments in advocating for breast cancer awareness over two decades. She commended academic institutions for their proactive engagement in promoting health consciousness among students.

Dr. Sohail highlighted the pivotal role of the Pink Ribbon Youth Awareness Programme in raising awareness across generations. She noted that breast cancer’s prevalence in Pakistan stands at an alarming 38.5%, the highest among all cancers, underlining the urgent need for heightened awareness and early detection. She called upon all stakeholders to unite in combatting this issue, recognising the potential of collaboration to overcome breast cancer’s high prevalence.

NAHE is an autonomous institution operating under the auspices of HEC to improve the quality of teaching, research and governance in Higher Education Institutions. Pink Ribbon Pakistan is a not- for profit charity organisation dedicatedly working on the issue of breast cancer since 2004. Its mission is to significantly reduce breast cancer mortality in the country by strategic interventions as well as creating widespread awareness through community engagement on prevention, early detection and increased access to treatment.

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