Jawaher Al Qasimi calls for worldwide free healthcare for children with cancer


Sharjah: Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients Society (FoCP), the International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, has called for providing free treatment, healthcare and psychological support to all children worldwide.

The call came when Her Highness visited Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt (CCHE 57357) in Cairo, the largest pediatric cancer hospital in the Arab region, and attended the opening ceremony of a new wing named after Her Highness. The hospital wing was named Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi in recognition of her generosity in providing financial support for the treatment of children with cancer. A banner displayed the name of Sheikha Jawaher and her saying to children with cancer, “You are the hero of your story, and you will always be in my heart.”

Her Highness was met by Dr Ashraf Zaghloul, Chairman of the hospital, Director Dr. Sherif Abou El Naga, and a number of officials and medical team. Ameera BinKaram, President of Board of Trustees and a founding member of FoCP, Noura Al Noman, Director of the Executive Office of Sheikha Jawaher, and Noha Safar, board member of FoCP accompanied Shiekha Jawaher.

Her Highness called for joint action to protect children against the physical and psychological pain of cancer, stressing that healthcare is an essential right of children in order to lead normal lives and to be pain free.

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher said, “I have such hope when I see that there are people and organisations who work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of children with cancer. More than 250,000 children a year suffer from cancer which leads to the death of 90,000 annually, 80 percent live in poor and middle-income countries. These figures require governments and people to help save the lives of innocent children, through the provision of scientific research, medical equipment and human cadres that are able to detect and diagnose cancer early, and provide medical treatment and psychological support to children and their parents to help them overcome this ordeal.”

Sheikha Jawaher visited a number of sick children at the hospital, and a number of refugee children who were receiving treatment there. She told them that she will stop at nothing to mobilise Arab and international support to protect them and help them until they recover and can carry on leading a normal life.

Her Highness said, “With your great determination and courage, and with the help of your friends everywhere in the world, you will defeat this disease, and will full recover God Willing.”

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher also had a tour of the hospital and held a number of meetings with the hospital administration and medical staff to acquaint herself with the nature of services for sick children and the system embraced by the hospital with regards to receiving patients.

Her Highness called the medical staff Angels of Mercy and lauded their efforts to provide healthcare to children and put a smile on their faces regardless of their nationality, race, religion, and economic status. She also emphasised the ongoing research being carried with the UICC that are looking for ways to reduce the impact of childhood cancer on individuals, families and society.

Sheikha Jawaher referred to the achievements and results of the hospital through donations made by both institutions and individuals noted that through support and donations made by civil society, organisations and individuals, significant achievements to provide free treatment, healthcare and psychological support for children with cancer for free can be made.

Director, Dr. Sherif Abou El Naga said, “We named one of the hospital’s wings after Her Highness in appreciation of her support for the hospital and children who are receiving treatment here, and her international contributions that reflect her personal interest in this humanitarian issue and her sympathy for cancer patients.”

He praised the contributions made by Sheikha Jawaher and said the hospital received 10 million Egyptian pounds from Sheikha Jawaher in July 2014, an amount that has contributed significantly to providing treatment and healthcare for children with cancer in Egypt and its neighbouring countries, and led to the implementation a number of new projects within the hospital.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, approximately 80% of children with cancer are living in developing countries. Her Highness therefore stressed the need to develop common international strategies to protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of children with cancer around the world, and curb the negative effects of the disease on children, their families and society as a whole.

Her HighnessSheikha Jawaher also visited the Daycare Centre for Autistic Children in the Abbasiya hospital in Cairo, and listened to a number of specialists who assured her that the centre is keen to educate families about autism, with the aim to provide early detection and intervention.

Last year, Sheikha Jawaher carried out a range of activities and visits in support of children with cancer across the world. She participated in the 11th African Conference of International Society for Pediatric Oncology, which was held last April in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in collaboration with UICC and International Society for Pediatric Oncology. During her participation, Sheikha Jawaher called for developing international strategies as an integral part of the overall programmes to control cancer and non-communicable diseases in various countries across the world, with a special focus on the low and middle income countries.

In September 2014, Sheikha Jawaher visited Presbyterian Cancer Hospital in New York where she launched her international initiative the ‘Heroes Bag’. This initiative presents children with cancer with special bags containing books, toys, and other gifts that aim to bring happiness and joy and help alleviate their suffering.

Sheikha Jawaher also participates in most events and activities launched by the UICC throughout the year. As a WCD International Ambassador for Pediatric Cancer, in 2013, Sheikha Jawaher visited the Children’s Cancer Centre of Lebanon, an affiliate of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the USA, where she met with patients and presented a library of children’s books to the hospital.

Through FoCP, Sheikha Jawaher links the UICC childhood cancer programme with an important initiative launched in 2010 called ‘Salam Ya Seghar’, a fund to improve the education, health, and welfare of Palestinian children.

In June 2013, the Board of Directors of the UICC named Her Highness the official International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration and the first WCD International Ambassador for Pediatric Cancer in the world.

The honour comes in recognition of Her Highness’ outstanding efforts at both local and international levels and her significant contribution towards cancer control, which includes the launch of initiatives aimed at raising public awareness about the risk and symptoms of cancer and the importance of early detection, and providing best methods of treatment and care for patients as well as their families.