In commemoration of International Women’s Day (March 8th), International Medical Corps – Jordan, in coordination with its local partner, Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS), organized activities in two clinics in Amman and Irbid, and a community center in Zarqa. Two Jordanian NGOs collaborated with International Medical Corps for this event, Jordan Breast Cancer Program and the Jordanian Association for Family Planning and Protection, with a total of 210 women participating in the activities.
The choice of topics for the event was motivated by two deciding factors: the majority of women seek medical attention when they are in the advanced stages of breast cancer and the high rate of population growth is putting a strain on already limited resources.
While there have been several breast cancer awareness campaigns in Jordan, the majority of women are still diagnosed in the latter stages of the disease. For example, according to Jordan Breast Cancer Program, 70% of breast cancer cases in Jordan are presented at advanced stages (III – IV), during which survival rates diminish significantly. Although the incidence of breast cancer in Jordan is lower than in western countries, the mortality rate is much higher.
Jordan also faces a demographic challenge: between 1981 and 1997, the population doubled. Fast population growth, estimated at 2.2% in 2009, is putting a strain on limited health and education resources, and exacerbating the unemployment problem.
At the International Women’s Day event, staff from the Jordan Breast Cancer Program led awareness sessions on breast cancer prevention and early detection. A doctor from the Breast Cancer Program provided free breast exams for all women who attended the event or visited the clinic on Women’s Day. Overall, 98 women took advantage of the free breast exams.
Staff from the Jordanian Association for Family Planning and Protection distributed leaflets and information on family planning and family protection topics. International Medical Corps handed out hygiene kits to all attendees at the event.