In the middle of breast cancer awareness month, more commonly known as “Pink October”, the Cadial Council of Mayotte initialed, this Thursday, October 6, a partnership agreement with Asca and Amalca. These two local associations, which help cancer patients, rely on religious authority to break certain taboos.
“I recommend when you are sick to go see your doctor and no longer go to see marabouts”, proclaims Mahamoudou Hamada Saanda, this Thursday, October 6. The Grand Cadi of Mayotte wants to put an end to this reflex taken by some patients to have recourse to witchcraft as a treatment, and he makes it known. At his side, the regional chaplain Said Ali Mondroha, as well as the presidents of Amalca and Asca, approve the message. Together, they have just signed a partnership agreement in the premises of Grand Cadi, in Mamoudzou. This has several purposes, in particular that the cadis make the associations better known or that joint events can be organised.
This agreement will also make it possible to take a big step forward in the freedom of speech, according to the leader of Amalca (for Mahoran Association for the fight against cancer), Nadjlat Attoumani. “The disease is still taboo in Mayotte society. In religion, you shouldn’t say what you have, put yourself forward, “ she regrets, recalling that she was herself helpless when she learned that she had breast cancer. Once confronted with the disease, it often becomes difficult to find someone to talk to. Its structure, now based in the M’Gombani district, organizes activities such as events, discussion groups or make-up workshops.
Another organization, the Asca (Association of caregivers against cancer) is more led by health professionals as its name suggests. “We are trying to find solutions with regard to escapes (medical evacuations). It is often complicated for the patient. We [lui] announces at the same time that he is ill, that he must be transferred to Reunion and that he will have to leave his family”, explains Anrifia Ali Hamadi, the president. In order to facilitate travel, his association created kits which were distributed to cadis after the signing, this Thursday morning.
“Visiting the sick is part of our religion”
For the Cadial Council, signing such a partnership is just as logical, religious authority still has significant weight in Mahoran society and “visiting the sick is part of our religion”, points out the Grand Cadi. Because mixing faith and health is not incompatible on the territory. Chaplains are, for example, already present at the hospital center in Mayotte. They practice funeral rites there, say prayers with families or listen to patients who wish to confide.
Ahamada Bacar, chaplain of the Mayotte hospital center, thus serves as an interface between different cultures and modern medicine. “In the Comoros, it is frowned upon to announce to a patient, the family must first be informed before him. Here, we know that it is the first concerned who must first know “, give as an example this polyglot religious. “People immediately associate cancer with death. While we can heal and live for several years with it. » His presence in an environment where medical vocabulary predominates is reassuring, as is the possibility of keeping a precious link with religion. The presence of cadis at the CHM should also be strengthened with the new partnership.
“Often, patients don’t dare take out their Koran. They think that since they are in a secular country, it is not allowed. While it is the strictest right”, also notes the chaplain with a smile.
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The Cadial Council ready to get more involved in the fight against cancer – Mayotte Hebdo
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