In a bid to spread cancer awareness in the community, the Rotaract Club of Harare Central (RCHC) is participating in the global annual Movember movement this month.
Movember, a word coined from ‘moustache’ and ‘November’ is an annual international campaign that aims to increase cancer awareness. The campaign encourages men to grow a moustache from the beginning to the end of November to raise awareness of various cancers that particularly affect men, such as prostate cancer.
“As with all years, the Mo Bros [men] grow their moustaches throughout the month and the Mo Sistas [women] can draw, paint, or stick one on if they so choose,” said Gabriellah Rugwete from RCHC.
The goal of Movember is to ‘change the face of men’s health’ by encouraging men to get involved and thereby increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and awareness of effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths.
“Apart from annual check-ups, Movember encourages men to be aware of if they have a family history of cancer and to adopt a healthier lifestyle,” said Rugwete. “We encourage everyone to visit the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ) offices and testing centres to get more information. While you’re there, you can also make a donation towards the great work they do.”
Rugwete says people can also take part in the 30-day fitness challenge ‘Move to improve’ their health. “I encourage everyone to take part in the fitness challenge and use it as a fundraising opportunity.”
The Movember movement and foundation began in Australia in 2004 and has grown to become a recognised worldwide charity. Over the years there have been various small groups who have participated in the movement but with no real goal or organisation.
The Rotaract Club of Harare Central took up Movember as a project in 2014 with the long-term goal of growing it into a national campaign with the same goals as the international movement. All funds raised go to CAZ.
Within Zimbabwe, Movember has been marginally successful. “It’s still a growing movement and each new person who learns about cancer affecting men as well as mental health issues is a success,” she said.
“Unlike the well-established breast cancer awareness campaigns, the first couple of years have been about increasing our own knowledge about cancer and how our lifestyles affect us. We have coordinated with the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe to disseminate pamphlets with information on various cancers and remind people to get tested regularly as it is a growing pandemic in our country.”
Image: Friedrich Nietzsche