Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon®, an independent affiliate of the George W. Bush Institute, leads coordinated action to save women and girls’ lives from cancer in countries where the need is greatest. By working with public- and private-sector organizations, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon builds on the success and lessons of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and, with the ongoing commitment of President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush, reaches communities to provide services for the prevention and treatment of women’s cancers. Launched in September 2011, by the Bush Institute, the U.S. Government through PEPFAR, Susan G. Komen® and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon now includes more than 20 donor and partner organizations. With the close engagement of national Governments, and local non-government organizations, the partnership results in country-owned, sustainable programs that allow women and girls to access the care they need to have the opportunity to thrive. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon currently supports efforts to combat cervical and/or breast cancer in the Republics of Botswana, Namibia and Zambia; the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Questions and Answers
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is governed by a Board of Directors that applies strategic decision-making and guidance to drive the organization. A Steering Committee comprised of over 20 public-sector, private-sector, and multilateral organizations and foundations, supports the work of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon by providing strategic recommendations and offering technical expertise, giving input on the direction of the partnership, and backing the work of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon with financial contributions, in-kind donations, and/or technical support. A small Secretariat coordinates daily operations for Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s work.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon mobilizes resources from Governments, multilateral organizations, foundations and corporations, and works with local, community-based implementers on a full continuum of interventions from prevention to palliative care by doing the following:
- Educating communities about breast and cervical cancer, and enabling women to access prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support;
- Vaccinating girls against the human papillomavirus (HPV);
- Screening women for breast and cervical cancer;
- Treating women for cervical pre-cancer with simple, low-cost methods: visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), cryotherapy, and the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP);
- Increasing access to life-saving diagnostics, products and treatment, and providing care and support;
- Training and equipping public and private providers to screen for and treat cervical and breast cancer; and
- Developing global standards, tools and guidance for monitoring and evaluation.
- To date, the partnership has assisted the Governments of Botswana, Tanzania, and Zambia to screen over 200,000 women for cervical pre-cancer lesions, vaccinate over 42,000 girls against HPV, and conduct over 6,000 clinical breast examinations.
- After Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s support of two HPV vaccination demonstrations, Botswana fast-tracked its HPV vaccination program by 18 months, and now uses its own resources to administer the vaccine to all girls across the country ages 9-13.
- Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon implementing partners in Tanzania work under the direction of the national Government to hold mass-screening and awareness-raising campaigns. These campaigns allow women to access a range of services, including HIV testing, clinical breast examinations, and cervical cancer screening all on the same day. These events reach thousands of women within a few days, accelerating coverage amongst the target population, women ages 30-49.
- Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon supported the Government of Zambia to expand cervical cancer screening services to all ten provinces in the country. Now, more women are able to access screening and basic treatment for pre-cancerous lesions closer to their homes.
- Through support from GlaxoSmithKline, one of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s foundational activities in Ethiopia has been assisting with the completion of a national cancer control plan. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon implementing partner, Mathiwos Wondu-YeEthiopia Cancer Society, seconded a technical advisor to the Federal Ministry of Health, who was responsible for the development of the document. On October 26, 2015, Ethiopia’s First Lady, Mrs. Roman Tesfaye and Minister of Health, Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu launched the Ethiopian National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP), the country’s long-term roadmap for cancer prevention and care.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon understands there is not a universal, “one-size-fits-all” model for engagement with national Governments to reduce deaths from cervical and breast cancer. Effective implementation requires a flexible approach that can be tailored to each country’s requirements and available resources. There are, however, several adaptable lessons we have learned which guide the partnership’s efforts to maximize the success and sustainability of national programs:
- Country Leadership, Ownership and Stewardship: Working from nationally adopted strategic plans, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon empowers national Governments and their partners to design, lead, own and account for their own programs; indigenous, country-driven movements that fight women’s cancers are of the utmost value, and ensure programs endure for the long run.
- Public Figures and Local Champions Help Drive Change: High-level advocates can use their platforms to elevate issues, which can lead to effective responses to problems from global, national & community levels. Visible champions also enhance expansion and use of services among women.
- Awareness Raising and Community Mobilization Must Precede Provision of Services: To create demand for services and dispel myths and misconceptions about cancer, healthcare workers and volunteers must spend time in a community, providing education about cancer, and the need for early preventative services and regular screening, before services are introduced.
- Treatment services and capabilities are needed before initiating a screening program: It is unethical to screen a woman for cancer if there are no treatment options available. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon engages in countries where at least one advanced cancer treatment center is established.
- Results Matter: The focus of the work Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has undertaken is to save the lives of women. To achieve that goal, the partnership concentrates its support where the burden is highest and among the people with the greatest need. We regularly measure our results to assess the impact of our contributions.
- Sustainability is key to lasting success: Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon promotes scalable, sustainable, innovative models that take advantage of country-level resources, platforms, and partnerships.