Living with a chronic health condition can often feel isolating and may lead to undesirable outcomes such as treatment abandonment and misuse of medicine. To tackle this issue, Young Leader Ezra Anecho started the project entitled ‘A pilot digital survivorship advocacy campaign targeting treatment abandonment and herbal medicine abuse‘, an advocacy campaign that aims to provide a platform to highlight the stories of young people who survived cancer in Uganda, as well as shine a light on the perspectives of family members, caretakers and health providers, in hopes of reducing the incidence of treatment abandonment and the misuse of herbal medicines. The campaign also aims to empower young people affected by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to share their health stories and lived experiences.
- Reducing the incidence of treatment abandonment and the misuse of herbal medicines
- Promote community involvement and participation in the fight against cancer
- Reduce the stigma and fear of cancer across all socioeconomic groups
- Develop informative educational materials
- Establish a database for cancer survivors
- Increase awareness about cancer survivorship
Creating a sense of community
Documenting the journeys through storytelling
To achieve the project goals, Ezra partnered with Uganda Child Cancer Foundation, Uganda Cancer Institute and Uganda Cancer Society to use video storytelling to cover the journeys of 11 cancer survivors and their caretakers from the Uganda Cancer Institute. The videos give an intimate view of the struggles, victories and ongoing experiences they faced when dealing with cancer.
“A unique aspect about this initiative is its empowerment of young people affected by NCDs and giving them a platform to share their health stories and lived experiences and thereby foster a sense of community,” says Ezra.
Childhood cancer run
The project team organized a “colour run” event to create a sense of “belonging” among the local cancer community and to reduce the stigma and fear that is often associated with cancer.
The successful event attracted over 1,500 people and received extensive local media coverage.
In addition to the run, the project also launched a survivor’s community workshop that attracted over 100 participants. The workshop served as a platform to interact directly with survivors, healthcare professionals and the public, giving everyone a chance to engage in meaningful conversations and share resources.
The team has plans to build on the momentum of the successful “colour run” event and incorporate it as an annual event that will continue to highlight cancer survivorship, as well as raise funds to help support vulnerable families in accessing cancer care.
The team will continue to engage with the survivorship community, utilizing the survivor database that has been established and keep survivors informed about upcoming events and initiatives, all with the goal of supporting more families in their journey towards recovery.