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By Lynette Kozosi

WINDHOEK

Bank Windhoek has launched its eighth Cancer Apple Project under the theme ‘Eat Healthy, Live Healthy, Prevent Cancer.’

The Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Petrina Haingura, officially launched the event at a press conference in Windhoek on Tuesday.

“Creating an environment that is conducive to the growth and development of Namibia’s people requires that institutions from all sectors including Government, parastatals and private entities join efforts to support social upliftment initiatives that aim to make a sustainable difference in the lives of those who benefit from these projects,” Haingura said.

According to James HilI, the Managing Director of Bank Windhoek,
the aim of the Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project is to reach all learners with the message that prevention is better than cure and that by following a healthy lifestyle, people can reduce the risk of cancer.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer has been identified as the leading cause of death worldwide.

From a total of 58 million deaths that were recorded in 2005, cancer accounted for 7.6 million or 13% deaths, and 70% of these deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries such as Namibia.

With further research indicating that 40% of cancer can be prevented by adopting a healthy diet, physical activity and not using tobacco, the deputy minister urged the youth to follow a balanced diet at an early age, to quit smoking and to reduce alcohol intake.

“We as Namibians will then be a much healthier nation,” she said.

Bank Windhoek became the main sponsor of the project in 2001. To date, it has raised more than N$3 million for the Cancer Association of Namibia.

During 2006 and 2007, the Bank Windhoek Apple Project sold 832 000 apples, enabling it to raise N$700 000.

According to Marjorie Katjire, the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN), their activities are solely financed by public donations, with no government funding whatsoever.

“This places particular pressure on the association to ensure that the necessary finances are generated to continue with its operations,” she said.

To encourage schools to participate, the Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project will award a total of N$22 500 to winning schools during the Apple Week (March 31 to April 4).

The top three schools that purchase the most apples in the pre-primary, primary and secondary categories will each receive prize money.

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