2020 Distinguished Advocacy Award Recipient
Runcie C.W. Chidebe & Project PINK BLUE
Founder & Executive Director, Project PINK BLUE
For outstanding advocacy throughout Nigeria and in global forums, including founding Project PINK BLUE—an organization focused on cancer advocacy, oncology training, and research—as well as influencing the establishment of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, developing numerous programs to serve the most needy, and changing cancer awareness and care throughout Nigeria
About Runcie C.W. Chidebe & Project PINK BLUE
As one of the leading voices advocating for Nigeria to make cancer control a national health priority, I am a patient advocate, researcher, and fighter for women battling cancer. I am also the founder and executive director of Project PINK BLUE—Health & Psychological Trust Centre, a non-governmental organization focused on cancer advocacy, awareness, treatment, and support; oncology training for doctors and nurses; research; and fundraising for cancer patients.
Every year, Project PINK BLUE hosts Nigeria’s largest World Cancer Day Walk—the Pink October Walk in Lagos—and other initiatives reaching millions of Nigerians in hard-to-reach communities. In 2017, largely through our advocacy, the Nigerian President signed a bill to establish the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment. To improve cancer treatment outcome and survivorship for women, we launched Upgrade Oncology to provide medical oncology training to 44 doctors from 11 university teaching hospitals. Since only 5% of Nigerians are covered by health insurance, through Show Love, we are raising funds to support indigent women battling cancer.
By including women battling cancer at the forefront of its cancer advocacy, Project PINK BLUE is making remarkable progress in policy advocacy. In 2017, with just nine women in Abuja, I founded the first cancer support group for women with uterine, breast, and cervical cancer. To-date, the group has grown to 75 patients and become the Network of People Impacted by Cancer in Nigeria (NePICiN). And I am currently co-leading a coalition of civil societies focused on ensuring that all eligible Nigerian girls receive the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer.
I am a member of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health Ministerial Committee on National Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme, its National Cancer Control Programme (2018/2022), and Novartis Global Metastatic Breast Cancer Peer Navigation Programme and a co-chair of the Abstract Committee for the 2020 World Cancer Congress. I am also a Commonwealth Scholar on MSc Transforming and Leading in Healthcare at Birmingham City University (United Kingdom) and Vice President of Student Voice for the university’s Students’ Union.
Having hosted one of the largest World Cancer Day events ever in Africa, we won the World Cancer Day Spirit Award at the 2018 World Cancer Congress in Malaysia. Based on my advocacy, I received the 2020 Global Ties U.S. IVLP Award for social innovation and change from the U.S. Department of State.
I believe that geography should not determine whether a woman lives or dies from cancer. Project PINK BLUE is changing the way Nigerian women think about cancer every single day!