Majlis Kanser Nasional (MAKNA)
MAKNA has provided financial, emotional and social support to nearly 60,000 cancer patients for over 26 years, without discriminating on creed, color or ethnicity. It also has a cancer institute, consisting of an oncology ward, radiotherapy services and a stem cell transplant ward, runs in collaboration with Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HCTM). The MAKNA Cancer Research Award has encouraged young scientists to join the battle against the disease for 18 years now.
Started nearly a quarter century ago as one man’s quest against a terminal illness that struck his son, Majilis Kanser Nasional, or MAKNA, is today an internationallyaffiliated cancer fighting organisation that has evolved beyond the expectation of its founder, former Deputy Health Minister, Dato’ Mohd Farid Ariffin.
Cancer Awareness Exhibition conducted by MAKNA
MAKNA Home Visit in 2020
Their core mission remains helping poor cancer-stricken people undergo treatment and assisting in their therapy through emotional and social support. Moreover, it has also grown from a one-man organisation to one with volunteers across the country, a cancer research centre and a record of assisting tens of thousands of Malaysians and their families.
Since its founding in 1994, the organisation has extended financial aid to nearly 60,000 cancer patients and their families through its Bursary Assistance Programme. It also provides short term accommodation to those unable to afford travel costs or are physically unfit to travel between hospital and home. MAKNA operates six “Halfway Houses” for this purpose, located in Johor Baru (Johor), Kepala Batas (Penang), Kota Bahru (Kelantan), Likas (Sabah), Kuching (Sarawak) and Putrajaya. Under the Bursary Assistance, cancer patients in lower income groups undergoing treatment in government hospitals can obtain monetary assistance to purchase non-formulary drugs, surgical equipment, colostomy bags and others.
MAKNA Bursary (Financial Assistance) Department
A portion of funds raised by the organisation, now run by Dato’ Farid’s daughter Farahida Mohd Farid, goes towards supporting young scientists conducting cancer research. The MAKNA Cancer Research Award commemorated its 19th year in 2019.
To practice a comprehensive approach in its battle against cancer, they set up a cancer institute in collaboration with Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HCTM), which comprises of an oncology ward, a radiotherapy services centre and a stem cell transplant ward. Since 1999, the cancer centre has served over 19,000 patients.
The organisation has also established a database of stem cell donors for patients in need. The registry was established in December 2000 under a joint project with the Ministry of Health and Institute for Medical Research. In Malaysia, a stem cell transplant is commonly carried out for patients suffering from leukemia or thalassemia. Other blood diseases including lymphomas, immunodeficiency and aplastic anemia may also benefit from a stem cell transplant.
The other prime mover within the organisation is its army of volunteers, who are found all over the country and come from various background including cancer survivors.
MAKNA Digital Mobile Mammogram Unit Team
These volunteers help the organisation reach larger groups of cancer patients by conducting various outreach programmes that include home and hospital visits. MAKNA particularly emphasises the importance of early detection. For instance, in 2011 they launched a 40-foot trailer equipped with a mammogram machine manned by qualified radiographers and nurses to provide mammogram screenings to underprivileged women in rural and urban poor areas. Now, two more units are in the pipeline for East Malaysia.
MAKNA’s Young Cancer Survivor Scholarship Programme launched in 2005 also lessens the financial burden on families and improves the quality of patients’ lives by providing them with the opportunity to pursue their tertiary education. Cancer survivors aged 25 or younger from lower income groups are eligible to apply.
MAKNA Cancer Research Award 2019
Internationally, the organisation has established an office in Hanoi, Vietnam since 2009 to take its cancer fighting mission abroad.
In recognition of its humanitarian work, the organisation has been made a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with Special Consultative Status since 2018. Aside from that, MAKNA received several other awards such as Anugerah Inovasi Perdana Menteri
2014, Golden Globe Tigers NGO Leadership Award 2018, Best AIESEC Exchange Participant 2009, Ibn Khaldun Merit Award for Social Transformation 2019 and the BrandLaureate Award for Social Responsibility 2019. The Registrar of Societies (ROS) also recognised MAKNA as one of the top three Best Practices and Governance Organisations in 2019.
Through grants and funds, recognitions and awards, both local and international, some 180 full time, dedicated and passionate staff and thousands of volunteers, the organisation works tirelessly to advance the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer, ultimately driving down mortality from the disease.
“Always be humble and stay true to yourself. Speak the truth and do what’s right.”
- Dato’ Mohd Farid Ariffin
Message to Young Malaysians
“First, do things with sincerity, and second, serve others. You should also not expect from others what you do not expect from yourself. Always believe in yourselves even if no one believes in you. You don’t need validation from anybody to achieve great things.”
- Dato’ Mohd Farid Ariffin