AIA Insurance launches Suwa Walan to drive Breast Cancer awareness

Wednesday, 8 May 2024 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

AIA Insurance, has launched an innovative, first of its kind, physical and digital campaign,  AIA Suwa Walan, to drive education and awareness about breast cancer among Sri Lankan women. 

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed in women globally. In Sri Lanka alone, it accounts for 27% of cancers in women, with 14 new cases reported daily. However, it is easily treatable and curable, if detected early. However, many Sri Lankan women hesitate to undergo regular checkups and screenings like mammography tests. This is due to multiple reasons, ranging from the taboo associated with cancer, to safety concerns and misconceptions about the cost, as well as the pain associated with testing, and cultural stigmas around women’s health and receiving treatment from male doctors.

In response to this need for culturally sensitive, proactive health practices and greater awareness around breast cancer, AIA Insurance, in collaboration with the Cancer Society of Sri Lanka, devised Suwa Walan – a unique awareness campaign that takes inspiration from timeless Sri Lankan art, and a particular natural habit for Sri Lankan women, to promote a message of awareness and encourage regular self-examination. 

All around Sri Lanka, women buy clay pots (walan) for cooking. When doing so, they often assess the durability of these walan by checking the pot, feeling it for cracks, discolouration, lumps or any other signs that the pot may not be usable. Interestingly, this age-old custom bears a striking parallel to self-examinations for breast cancer, a practice where women regularly check themselves for symptoms of breast cancer like differences in size and shape, discolouration, and lumps. 

The AIA Suwa Walan campaign utilises the humble clay pot as a tool to promote self-examination at home through the distribution of custom clay pots embedded with a handmade lump to symbolise breast cancer. Each AIA Suwa Walan clay pot also features illustrations depicting five simple steps for self-examination at home, designed in an art style that takes inspiration from some of Sri Lanka’s most famous cultural art. 

These pots, with their artistically engaging guides, give women easy-to-follow instructions on how to perform self-checks effectively. By integrating health education with a familiar cultural practice, AIA Insurance aims to make breast cancer awareness more accessible and relatable to Sri Lankan women.

As part of the campaign, AIA Insurance has partnered with the Cancer Society in Sri Lanka to conduct activations across the country and further drive home the importance of taking steps to proactively manage breast cancer. These activations feature detailed demonstrations on breast cancer, self-checks, and guidance on further steps in case any anomalies are detected. 

AIA Suwa Walan also drives breast cancer awareness online with a video on the underlying message of AIA Suwa Walan crafted for social media, with AIA Insurance sponsoring some breast cancer physical screening tests for women in need based on the number of shares the video receives. AIA Suwa Walan’s digital outreach will also see a series of posts aimed at educating the public on the statistics and symptoms of breast cancer. Notably the video has been shared and endorsed by many social media personalities who endorse the project. 

The AIA Suwa Walan Campaign underscores AIA Insurance’s commitment to fostering a healthier and more informed society in Sri Lanka. Through initiatives like this, AIA continues to leverage its expertise and resources to help the communities live healthier, longer and better lives.