05 Jun 2013 11:00

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has donated an ultrasound machine to the Red Crescent to assist the organisation’s nation-wide efforts in programs to promote early detection and treatment of breast cancer among Emirati women. 

Ray Gammell, the airline’s Chief People and Performance Officer, Aubrey Tiedt, Vice President of Guest Services, and Dr Nadia Bastaki, Senior Medical Officer/Clinical Lead – Aviation, presented the machine to H.E Rashed Mubarak Al Mansouri, Deputy Secretary General for Local Affairs of the Red Crescent and the Red Crescent delegation, at a ceremony held at the Etihad Training Academy yesterday.

“Etihad Airways strongly believes in its responsibility to support our local community,” said Ray Gammell. “Our goal in working with the Red Crescent is to ensure that women throughout the UAE will have access to a potentially life-saving service.”

The Etihad Airways Medical Centre marks global breast cancer awareness month in October each year with a program to raise awareness of breast cancer among the staff and the community, focusing on the importance of early detection through regular self-examinations and screenings. The program includes panel discussions with holistic practitioners, doctors, patients and families.

In 2012, for the second consecutive year, the medical centre sponsored a mobile mammography unit, operated by Burjeel Hospital, which provided free mammograms to the airline’s female staff and at malls in Abu Dhabi.

Last year, the Etihad Airways breast cancer awareness campaign raised over AED 68,000 through the sale of pink ribbon pins and bracelets, donations from staff, and bake sales by the cabin crew.

The airline decided to allocate the donations to support the Red Crescent’s Rosary Campaign for Breast Cancer Exploration, a mobile clinic providing breast cancer screening and mammographies to women in the remote areas of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah. To date, the mobile clinic has assisted over 800 women, age 40 and above, in areas such as Alqua, Delma Island, Al Marfa and Ghantoot. The new ultrasound machine will allow the mobile clinic to screen younger women between the ages of 20 and 39, providing a much needed service to an estimated 15,000 women annually.

H.E Rashed Mubarak Al Mansouri said: “I would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to Etihad Airways for its support of our efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer. We consider Etihad Airways as our strategic partner in humanitarian efforts and socially responsible projects, and the donation of this machine that works toward the early detection of breast cancer will help us to reach those who are in remote areas of the country and do not have immediate access to these kinds of vital healthcare services.”

Dr Nadia Bastaki said: “Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for women in the UAE, and unfortunately it is usually caught in the late stages. But if we can raise awareness throughout the community and encourage women to be screened at an earlier age, we can start to change those statistics.”

According to the UAE Ministry of Health, cancer is the second-leading cause of death for women in the UAE, with breast cancer as the most common denominator. The Etihad Airways CSR program encourages staff members to be actively involved in promoting activities at the headquarters and throughout the community to raise awareness of the disease.

“The Etihad Airways Guest Services team is always willing to work for socially responsible causes and we are very pleased and excited to see the result of our efforts in helping the Red Crescent,” said Aubrey Tiedt. “Early detection of breast cancer is essential to survival. It is our hope that this new ultrasound machine will be of significant benefit to younger women in this region and that it will help in raising awareness of this life-threatening disease.”

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