CANSA KwaZulu-Natal

CANSA Supports BE SUN SMART Schools Programme

Be SunSmart Schools Programme

March 2015 – CANSA and the Skin Cancer Foundation of South Africa (SCFSA) have teamed up to support the ‘BE SUN SMART School Programme’ aimed at installing sunscreen dispensers at schools, in the fight against skin cancer.

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in South Africa, and skin cancer rates in South Africa are among the highest in the world. However, the skin cancer risk can be reduced. The most vital step to reducing skin cancer is to keep children protected from UV radiation, whilst they’re outside, especially between 10h00 and 15h00, as well as encouraging use of SunSmart habits from an early age.

Schools Have NB Role to Play in Helping to Reduce Sunburn

“Research shows that reducing childhood exposure to ultraviolet radiation is an important step to minimising lifetime skin cancer risk. Children are especially at risk of UV radiation exposure and more vulnerable to sun damage in a shorter space of time, because their skin is thinner than an adult’s and far more sensitive,” says Dr Marc Roscher of SCFSA, who has helped grow ‘BE SUN SMART’.

Dr Caradee Wright, who has published many research studies on child sun exposure and sun protection, stresses that schools have an important role to play in supporting children to make healthy sun choices.

“There is evidence that shows that interventions by schools at primary school level can reduce sunburn incidence and new melanocytic mole development. This means that the school environment can support healthy child sun exposure and reduce risk of skin cancer later in life. In South Africa, sun protection has not been a top priority for public schools, because these schools have other pressing issues that take precedence,” says Wright.

Partnership with Nivea Sun

‘BE SUN SMART’ was launched in KwaZulu-Natal last year by two concerned Durban mothers, Hayleigh Bott and Donna Short, in partnership with NIVEA Sun.

NIVEA Sun Brand Manager, Mbali Sithole explains, “As the world number 1 sun care brand*, and a CANSA SunSmart Choice sunscreen, NIVEA Sun has a responsibility to grow public awareness about sun protection and sun safety.

Objectives Programme:

The ‘BE SUN SMART’ objectives are threefold:

  • Firstly, to make sunscreen instantly accessible when and where it is needed most, at schools
  • Secondly, to make sun care part of children’s every day routine
  • Thirdly, to educate children on sun safety

What better place for children to learn SunSmart habits than within the learning environment of their own school?

Gaining Momentum

With 37 schools signed up, and roughly 4 000 pupils getting UV protection at school through this programme, ‘BE SUN SMART’ is gaining momentum.

Hayleigh Bott says, “Our main goal is to make sunscreen use as necessary and routine as brushing your teeth. By instilling these habits early on, we hope to grow a generation of sun smart kids.”

Be SunSmart Schools Programme Penguin Ray

Ray the Penguin – view video clip…

Cara Noble, CANSA’s Durban Care Centre Regional Manager, is in full support of the ‘BE SUN SMART’ initiative, providing educational materials for schools and providing informative talks to high school pupils, parents and teachers. “Children and parents are not yet adequately prioritising sunscreen use and sun safety behaviour – and some teens still ‘tan’. Our role is to build an understanding of what children need to do to keep themselves protected from the risk of skin cancer.

NIVEA Sun has developed a lovable character Ray the Penguin to help bring the sun smart message home for junior school children in a fun yet educational way. A two minute animated video clip was created and has gone viral, carrying the SunSmart message.

Source: Nivea Sun Press Release


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