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Viral WhatsApp message on free cancer surgery, false

Claim: A viral WhatsApp message suggests that the African Cancer Foundation offers 200 breast cancer patients free treatment.

Verdict: False. According to the African Cancer Foundation, the information is out of date.

Full Text

A widely circulated WhatsApp post suggests that the African Cancer Foundation is calling for 200 breast cancer patients who are in dire situations to apply for its free treatment. The post, as seen on WhatsApp on Feb 4, 2024, has been forwarded many times on the medium, with some users asking how affected persons could benefit from the programme. 

Image: A screenshot of the WhatsApp post.

Due to the virality of the message and the potential to misinform, DUBAWA decided to investigate it

Verification

Initial investigations by DUBAWA revealed that in 2022, the Africa Cancer Foundation sent out calls inviting 200 breast cancer patients to sign up for free breast cancer surgeries. 

Image: 2022 call for applicants

According to the foundation, it received applications and conducted free treatments for 200 breast cancer patients in dire situations in 2022. 

Further research led DUBAWA  to a press release issued by the Foundation on its website dated Feb. 5, 2024, in which the organisation stated that the information circulating on social media about free cancer treatment by the Foundation is outdated. It added that the call was originally published in 2022 and has been executed.

According to the foundation, the information in circulation resurfaced on the internet “…with an unknown source starting from Kenya, through Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Congo, Zimbabwe and has gone viral with translations in Kiswahili and French causing about 20,000 people to apply for the expired programme.” 

Image: Press release.

While the Foundation sympathises with the applicants who are in dire need of treatment, the Programs Coordinator for the Foundation, Wairimu Mwaura, stated in the press release that they have no free breast cancer treatment plans at the moment, as claimed by the information circulating in the media. She, however, assured the public that they are actively looking for funding to continue with the programme.

Conclusion

Based on the press release by the Africa Cancer Foundation on its website, the information is outdated and untrue.

This report was produced under the DUBAWA Non-urban Journalists Mentorship project aimed at promoting a culture of truth and verification in non-urban newsrooms in Ghana with support from the US Embassy in Ghana.

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