[Kuala Lumpur, 18 November 2020] ROSE Foundation is very pleased to announce that it has recently been awarded a Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) International Neighbour of Choice (INOC) grant. The INOC grant is MSD’s charitable program designed to support outstanding work by non-profit organizations whose mission is to improve the quality of life of people and the environment in communities
ROSE FOUNDATION was established in 2019 as a company limited by guarantee and as a charitable foundation in Malaysia. It is a joint venture between the University of Malaya and VCS Foundation (VCS, formerly the Victorian Cytology Service Inc.), Australia. ROSE Foundation also runs the ROSE Laboratory to provide a centralized cervical screening service using HPV testing. It executes Program ROSE as an innovative cervical screening strategy developed in Malaysia in collaboration with VCS Foundation using the principles of design thinking. It focuses on making cervical cancer screening more acceptable and accessible to Malaysian women.
The program encourages women of eligible age to perform self-sampling, a process where women use a Copan Floqswab to collect their own sample from the vagina (not cervix) thus replacing the conventional Pap smear with HPV (Human Papillomavirus) DNA testing. In addition, by incorporating a secure digital e-health platform, women are empowered to register and have all their follow ups communicated via a mobile phone.
Since the launch of ROSE Foundation in July 2019, over 7000 women have benefited from the program and recently, more parties have begun to express their interest to contribute to the Foundation’s cause. Hence, winning this grant opened the door to new opportunities and enabled the Foundation to move a step closer towards achieving its ambition.
As the world focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic and re-prioritising health care resources from non-communicable diseases to communicable disease, it is time for the health care system to transform and adopt new practices to improve health outcomes. Self-care interventions is a powerful tool for women empowerment and frontliners play a crucial role in the execution of this practice. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the scope of self-care interventions includes health promotion and disease prevention. It is a promising approach in placing women at the centre of healthcare, at the same time ensuring the accountability of the health care system.
Therefore, ROSE Foundation came up with a campaign targeting the frontliners in Malaysia as we believe that they are the key personnel to accelerate the integration of self care for sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), with an emphasis on cervical cancer prevention. This is with the aim of frontliners taking charge of their own SRHR and ultimately sensitizing the community they interact with on SRHR.
“We want all women in Malaysia to know about cervical cancer and to know it’s preventable. They must be informed about how this cancer can be prevented and where to go for help. We want our community to be knowledgeable and support girls and women in prevention initiatives including vaccination and screening programs to prevent cervical cancer,” said Prof. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, the chair of ROSE Foundation.
The grant will be used to enhance the public awareness on cervical cancer through various physical and digital platforms in the hope that more women are well-informed of Program ROSE and eventually benefit from it.