The recipients of the 2020 Best CEO and World Cancer Day Spirit Awards were announced at a special community celebration held virtually on Tuesday 24th November. UICC is pleased to announce that Omolola Salako, Executive Director of Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre in Nigeria, is the winner of the Best CEO award, while MAHAK, the Society to Support Children Suffering from Cancer in Iran, won the Best World Cancer Day Spirit award.
Omolola Salako is a clinical oncologist, social entrepreneur and digital health innovator. She is the founder and Executive Director of Sebeccly Cancer Care, a not-for-profit organisation that conducts cancer prevention programmes and hosts the Oncopadi Digital Clinic, a tech-enabled platform that connects and empowers people concerned about cancer. Her ambition is to leverage technology and artificial intelligence to advance cancer care in Africa. She is the Principal Investigator of the X-Labs Digital Health Hub, a leadership development platform that cultivates the innovative potential of future healthcare leaders and aims to build the future digital and oncology workforce in Nigeria.
Arasb Ahmadian has been the CEO of MAHAK, the Society to Support Children Suffering from Cancer in Iran, since 2009. He started his collaboration with MAHAK in 1996, as a volunteer, and from 2003 had been its Deputy Managing Director. In 2017 he was elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the Iranian National Network of Cancer Control, gathering 61 organisations to better collaborate with the Ministry of Health and Medical Education on cancer policy development. During his tenure, he led MAHAK to become the top scorer in a global NGO Benchmark certification (2018) and to twice receive the Gold Award of the International Project Management Association (IPMA) in the field of Sustainable Development projects (2014, 2018). Arasb also teaches strategic planning and change management in the Business School of Tehran University and has led various research and consultancy projects in the field of strategy.
Following a career of over 40 years in cancer control, Sanchia Aranda has held the post of CEO at Cancer Council Australia from 2015 to 2020, when she recently stepped down. She is one of Australia's most respected cancer control expert, holding several high-profile governance roles: she spent 16 years on the board of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care, including 4 as President (2006-2010), she was the President for the Union for International Cancer Control (2016-2018) and she served on the Advisory Council for Cancer Australia for 8 years until 2015. She is currently the Chair of the Board of City Cancer Challenge Foundation and Honorary Professor at the University of Melbourne.
The CEO Award is proudly supported by Merck & Co (MSD)
To build on the momentum of previous year’s World Cancer Day awareness-raising efforts in Iran, MAHAK worked alongside a diverse group of partners which included the capital city of Tehran, three shopping malls, Iran’s leading chain store, schools, international partners and high-profile celebrities, including athletes and artists. In the lead up to, and on World Cancer Day itself, MAHAK engaged with over 6,000 customers at two popular shopping malls as well as at a number of retail locations across the country, where their volunteers and staff were on hand to invite the public to learn more about childhood cancer. MAHAK also reached into their international network, encouraging their partners in Germany, Georgia and the United States to implement similar World Cancer Day activities locally, as well as drew attention nationally by illuminating two of the country’s most prominent landmarks: the Azadi Tower and Sana Shopping Center.
In only their second time marking World Cancer Day, the International Cancer Institute (ICI) in Kenya organised a mass awareness, vaccination and screening event across two days in three separate counties. To help achieve this, the ICI mobilised a broad collective, tapping the expertise and skills of civil society, cancer organisations, healthcare providers, community groups and the national and county governments. With each organisation playing a key role on the ground, the event screened approximately 2,000 individuals for cervical, breast and prostate cancers as well as for hypertension and diabetes, while raising prevention awareness among communities, including in schools and churches, in areas with some of the nation’s highest cancer incidences.
For World Cancer Day 2020, Run For a Cure Africa (RFCA), and their partner, Shoprite Nigeria – Africa’s largest grocery store chain – travelled to six different regions within the country, working alongside medical centres, hospitals and local government leaders to provide communities with access to breast health education, clinical exams, ultrasound scans, and mammograms at no cost to participants. A feat of logistics, the week-long screening programme ventured into both rural and urban communities, with RFCA collaborating with student volunteers, different houses of faith, local personalities and women’s associations for a culturally sensitive approach to raising awareness, dispelling cultural myths and stigmas and teaching participants how to conduct a breast self-exam. In total, over 3,000 women were screened during the week leading up to World Cancer Day, arguably making it one of Nigeria’s biggest breast screening outreach.
In 2019, the 4th February was in fact the eve of the Lunar Chinese New Year. A significant holiday, the team at the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) recognised that it would be a major challenge to bring attention to World Cancer Day as well as to a topic such as cancer which is traditionally considered “inauspicious”. However, through their partnerships with over 30 different organisations – many of which were first time collaborations – SCS not only achieved positive cancer awareness among a national public, they also broke their own record for the highest number of Facebook video views for SCS’s World Cancer Day video. It was SCS’s first time initiating a digital campaign at this scale and scope for World Cancer Day – and one that could only have been possible through creative and mutually beneficial partnerships that built goodwill and achieved unprecedented and inclusive reach and exposure to a general audience as well as harder-to-reach communities.
PASYKAF, working alongside fellow cancer organisations, used World Cancer Day as an opportunity to reinvigorate and strengthen a long-held partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health and Education through the World Cancer Day student competition in Cyprus. Under the theme ‘I am a young and I create a future without cancer’, the competition encouraged students aged 15-18 years old to provide their ideas and thoughts on ways to minimise the risks of cancer. Helping the competition to gain national traction, the partnership with the Ministry was pivotal in reaching every secondary school and engaging students, teachers and parents, while it also reached a broader audience with recognised personalities in art, music and education invited take part in the competition jury. The initiative gained strong exposure through both traditional and social media, with the official award ceremony held on the occasion of World Cancer Day and attended by high profile government leaders being a particular highlight and covered by all four national TV stations.