Combatting breast cancer: The First Lady, Ms Dominique Ouattara urges women to early detection

First Lady Dominique Ouattara officially launched the Pink October activities of the Alassane Ouattara National Center of Oncology and Radiotherapy (CNRAO) on Wednesday October 11, 2023, at the University Hospital Center in Cocody.

The launch ceremony witnessed the presence of Mrs Maïmouna Koné, wife of the Vice-President of the Republic, Mr Pierre Dimba, Minister of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage, many Ministers and personalities.

The godmother of the Pink October launch ceremony, Ms Dominique Ouattara revealed that breast cancer alone accounts for 19.1% of all recorded cancers, and 33.4% of all female cancers. According to the latest WHO statistics, there are 3,306 new cases of breast cancer every year. “In Côte d’Ivoire, breast cancer accounts for 19.1% of all registered cases of cancer and 33.4% of female cancers. According to the latest WHO statistics, there are 3,306 new cases of breast cancer every year”, said Ms Dominique Ouattara. These worrying figures show that breast cancer is a public health problem which disrupts family balance. Fortunately, according to the wife of the Head of State, the government has made great efforts and significant progress to address cancer in the country.

As a result, it is now possible to cure this disease, if it is discovered early. “Fortunately, significant progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer in recent years. Thanks to research into treatments and prevention, this disease is no longer an insurmountable tragedy these days. Indeed, if discovered early enough through screening, breast cancer can be cured without removal or even chemotherapy,” said Ms Dominique Ouattara. The First Lady also took the opportunity to urge women to go for screening. “For the pink October, I’d like once again to appeal to all my sisters and strongly encourage for screening. Because early diagnosis can prevent a lot of suffering and save lives. Don’t wait,” she advised. The First Lady again insisted on early detection and treatment of cancer as the most effective means of combating the disease.  “Today, breast cancer can be treated in Côte d’Ivoire, including for those most in need.

Curing breast cancer is possible, provided you get tested and treated early enough. For all the measures taken to bear fruit, we need all our sisters to be screened, so that cases of breast cancer can be discovered at an early stage”, she advised.  As part of the fight against this disease, the First Lady welcomed the launch by CNRAO of a digital platform to combat the disease. “I’m happy that the Alassane Ouattara National Center for Oncology and Radiotherapy (CNRAO) is today launching its digital platform, called CNRAO STOP CANCER, which will be used to remind users of the dates, locations and costs of screening sessions,” said Ms Dominique Ouattara. For her, the creation of this platform will save many lives by promoting early diagnosis of the disease. “I encourage all our sisters to go for systematic screening every year. It’s vital to go for a check-up even if you don’t feel any particular signs. Your health depends on it, and so does your family’s well-being”, recommended the First Lady.  The First Lady concluded by congratulating the members of CNRAO on winning the 2023 edition of the Dominique Ouattara Super Prize for the best radiotherapy and cancer control center in the UEMOA region on April 28.

Mr. N’Gou Pierre Dimba, Minister of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage, thanked the First Lady for her constant support in implementing health policy and improving the country’s healthcare system. He recalled that cancer is a real public health problem worldwide. Côte d’Ivoire is no exception, with over 17,300 new cases diagnosed each year. According to him, breast cancer is the world’s No. 1 cancer in women. In Côte d’Ivoire, it accounts for 19% of all cancers, and 33% of all female cancers. He went on to say that breast cancer can be cured in 9 out of 10 cases, provided it is discovered early and properly treated. Curing breast cancer therefore depends on two (02) conditions: early detection and proper treatment.


For Ms Nassénéba Touré, Minister for Women, Family and Children, it is vital not to reduce cancer to a mere statistic, for behind it lies a human tragedy. The Minister of Women’s Affairs praised the progress made in the fight against this pathology. She also encouraged women to go for screening.

Mr. Jean-Marie Vianny Yaméogo, resident representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), praised Côte d’Ivoire’s progress in the fight against breast cancer. According to Yaméogo, breast and cervical cancer account for more than half the cancer burden among women in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, between 60% and 70% of women are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease, and only one in two women will survive five years after a breast cancer diagnosis, compared with a 90% survival rate beyond five years in high-income countries. For him, early clinical diagnosis of breast cancer is fundamental and the procedures are simple and within the reach of all women and girls. He also praised CNRAO’s tireless work and the innovations that place this institution among the reference centers in the African sub-region.

Mr. Jean-Marc Yacé, Mayor of Cocody, welcomed the creation of the center.

Pr Didi Kouko Coulibaly Judith, Director of the the Alassane Ouattara National Center for Oncology and Radiotherapy (CNRAO) presented the progress made by the center to combat breast cancer 5 years after its inauguration.


The ceremony ended with the inauguration and tour of the Pink Village.