On Thursday, 27 September 2018, the Health Work Committees and Bank of Palestine launched the first mobile clinic, which is part of Dunya Women’s Cancer Center, for the early detection of breast cancer. The ceremony was held at the Ramallah Municipality square in the presence of Dr. Layla Ghannam, the Governor of the Ramallah and Al Bireh governorate, Eng. Mousa Hadid, the Mayor of Ramallah Municipality, Mr. Hashim Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, Dr. Wael Sheikh, the General Director of the Ramallah Health Directorate, Dr. Shatha Odeh, the General Director of the Health Work Committees, artist Samir Joubran, and Dr. Nufuz Maslamani, the General Director of Dunya Women’s Cancer Center, with the participation of representatives from several organizations, members from the private sector, journalists and media persons.
The launch of the Pink Clinic, which will operate in different villages and communities across the West Bank, comes as a capstone of the two-year joint and continuous efforts between the Health Works Committees through Dunya Women’s Cancer Center, Bank of Palestine, and the Trio Joubran, the cultural partner of Bank of Palestine. The Trio Joubran led the longest musical marathon, which was organized two years ago and involved the participation of over 100 Palestinian artists and bands who performed for 12 hours straight. The marathon managed to raise over one million Dollars, most of which was allocated for the purchase, preparation and operation of the Pink Clinic.
Dr. Wael Sheikh, the General Director of the Ramallah and Al Bireh Health Directorate, delivered a speech on behalf of the Minister of Health, Dr. Jawad Awwad. Al Sheikh stressed the interest of the Ministry of Health in promoting cooperation with partners in the provision of health services with an aim to raise the level of healthcare provided, stating that the launch of the mobile Pink Clinic assures the partnership and integration between the ministry and health service providers. He pointed out that the early detection of breast cancer indicates a 98% cure rate, which alleviates the suffering of patients and their families, and facilitates the curing process. Al Sheikh also addressed other services provided by the ministry, which include a free of charge mammogram offered at all health directorates, in addition to the implementation of several relevant awareness and educational meetings and workshops.
Dr. Shatha Odeh, the General Director of the Health Works Committees, thanked all those who participated with the organization and celebrated the happiness and joy expressed by Palestinian women towards the mobile Pink Clinic for the early detection of breast cancer, which was launched as part of a campaign organized by the Dunya Women’s Cancer Center (part of the Health Works Committees), Bank of Palestine (through the Felestineya Program), and the world renowned Palestinian musical band Trio Joubran, who organized the first musical marathon in Palestine to spread awareness about the importance of the early detection of breast cancer. Dr. Odeh added that “during the trial period of two months, we conducted more than 200 mammograms and several educational and awareness workshops, either by visiting women in their homes or conducting lectures in several locations.” “Today, we are all proud of these collaborative and unique efforts and achievements. We stand alongside Palestinian women to promote their health and resistance, and we aim to assist them wherever they are. We hope to develop our operations within the coming years in order to provide more than one pink clinic in Palestine, and this stems from our conviction, and that of our partners, in the importance of providing access to quality health services to all.
Mr. Hashim Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, the partner and permanent sponsor of activities implemented by the Dunya Women’s Cancer Center, pointed out the efforts conducted through the strategic and solid partnership with the center over a period of eight years. These efforts were manifested in the links established with Palestinians in the Diaspora communities, as well as companies and organizations, to raise over one million dollars for combatting breast cancer. Partners in these efforts include the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Farouq Systems, the Consolidated Contractors Company, the late Abdel Mohsen Qattan, and Omar and Ghalia Qattan. Shawa added: “Today, we are witnessing a great achievement that stresses the importance of cooperation between art, funding, culture, media, health, civil society, municipalities, diaspora communities and the local community. I am proud that we received all the necessary funding to launch the Palestinian Pink Clinic.” Shawa addressed the idea that led to the organization of the first musical marathon over a period of 12 hours: “At the bank, we started to think outside the box, and we spoke with the Trio Joubran (Samir, Adnan and Wissam) who came up with the idea of implementing the longest musical marathon in partnership with other artists. In other words, we gathered everyone to work within the framework of corporate social responsibility in order to solve the problem and break the barriers. We believe that the developmental process needs a healthy society and a partnership from all sectors. Development is always preceded by awareness that produces empowerment, which eventually opens the doors for sustainable development.”
Shawa also added that the partnership with Dunya Women's Caner Center broke the barrier of fear to speak out about cancer through the awareness campaigns that are held during the month of October from every year in cooperation with the media. "We managed to create social awareness that stresses the importance of early detection," said Shawa. "Considering the inability of the clinic to reach and operate in Gaza, we allocated part of the funds raised to work on this issue in partnership and cooperation with the Palestinian Red Crescent," he added.
Artist Samir Joubran, who led the exceptional music marathon together with his band the Trio Joubran, thanked each and every individual who contributed to the success of the marathon, as well as those who participated in it. He added that the idea emerged during an outside the box conversation he had with his brothers to face give an unprecedented performance. He expressed the emotions he felt before and during the long music marathon, and to him, the whole event was an inspiration.
Engineer Mousa Hadid, the Mayor of Ramallah Municipality, stated that the Pink Clinic is considered an achievement in the context of the Palestinian challenge, and crowns the idea that was led by several stakeholders, especially Bank of Palestine, the permanent partner of the municipality and various organizations. He added that the municipality was the first incubator for the Dunya Women's Cancer Center and for many years. The idea of the Pink Clinic was a natural and complementary result of efforts to bridge the relationship of the Health Work Committees and Dunya with various stakeholders, among them the Ramallah Municipality which, from the onset, provided the space for Dunya's operations, and continued to give and provide all means necessary to contribute to the success of the center and its health and developmental activities. In conclusion, Hadid commended the diligent efforts conducted by the Health Work Committees and all relevant partners.
Dr. Layla Ghannam, the Governor of the Ramallah and Al Bireh governorate, expressed her gratitude towards all those who contributed to the initiative and worked industriously to fulfill this dream. She also expressed her joy and pride in this exceptional health and developmental national achievement that targets Palestinian women. Ghannam also stated that "this achievement proves that we are capable of being creative and innovative under all circumstances, and the Palestinian women who was able to beat the black cancer of the occupation is able to beat the disease." "As Palestinians, when we wear pink, we do not forget the colours of our national flag for which many sacrificed," she added. Ghannam thanked Bank of Palestine, the Health Work Committees, the Trio Joubran, and all those who contributed to the success of the clinic.
During the ceremony, Mr. Ali Hassuneh, the Chairman of the Health Work Committees, Shatha Odeh, the General Director of the Health Work Committees, and Dr. Nufuth Maslamani, the General Director of Dunya Women’s Cancer Center, honored Mr. Hashim Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, artist Samir Joubran, on behalf of the Trio Joubran, Mr. Nijad Ghannam, Representative of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Ms. Hind Zahran, on behalf of the Arab Contractors Company, Mr. Ahmad Al Shami, on behalf of Farouq Systems, Dr. Layla Ghannam, the Governor of the Ramallah and Al Bireh governorate, Dr. Wael Sheikh, on behalf of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and Engineer Mousa Hadid, the Mayor of Ramallah Municipality. Gratitude was also expressed to the family of the late Abdel Mohsen Qattan and Omar and Ghalia Qattan.
A short film was exhibited featuring the mobile Pink Clinic, the nature of work it provides and the areas it operates in. Guests also received a full up close and personal presentation about the clinic delivered by Dr. Nufuth Maslamani, the General Director of Dunya Women’s Cancer Center.