Home Health Africa Records 21% Of Global Cervical Cancer Mortality – WHO

Africa Records 21% Of Global Cervical Cancer Mortality – WHO

Africa Records 21% Of Global Cervical Cancer Mortality – WHO

Princess-Ekwi Ajide  Abuja

The World Health Organisation, WHO, says 100,000 women in the African region in 2020, developed cervical cancer and approximately 70,000 of them died making it 21% of the global cervical cancer mortality.

In a statement to mark January as cervical cancer awareness month, the WHO African Regional Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said Cervical cancer disproportionately affects some most vulnerable communities, adding that the three key messages of this year’s campaign are: be informed; get screened; and get vaccinated.

According to the regional Director, it is critical that young women in particular know about the link between cervical cancer and the human papilloma virus (HPV) as almost all (99%) of cervical cancer cases are linked to this common virus, that is transmitted during sex.

For her, knowing about this link with a common viral infection means that it is now easier to screen women for the disease which can be prevented by vaccinating young women, so preventing HPV infection.

She noted that Cervical cancer awareness requires empowering women with knowledge, at school, by clinic staff, and from women who are living with the disease, saying that unfortunately, the high rates of cervical cancer in the region shows there are major gaps in knowledge, awareness of the disease, and access to screening.

Dr. Moeti, harped on the need to urgently ensure that the HPV vaccine reaches all young women between the ages of 9 to 14 years in the region which means focusing on the immediate needs in order to address the gaps.

The Director, gave some insights into how the WHO African Region, is tackling the burden of disease to include launching a specific public health framework in 2021, to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem in Africa.

She counted concrete actions contained in the framework to reach the desired targets of ensuring 90% of girls are fully vaccinated with HPV vaccine by 15 years of age; 70% of women are screened using a high performance test by 35 years of age and again by 45 years of age; and 90% of women with pre-cancer are treated, and 90% of women with more advanced cancer are managed.

The regional Director encouraged countries to use their HIV screening and treatment services as another opportunity to raise awareness of cervical cancer, and offer screening and vaccination to women attending HIV services adding that the region is making good progress in this area, by integrating cervical cancer screening and treatment services into HIV programmes.

She cited, Zambia, which started the initiative in 2018 and screened about 235,000 women living with HIV from November 2020 to October 2021 anf increase by 30% the cervical cancer screening rates among women living with HIV between 2022 and 2023.

Dr. Moeti, also revealed that in 2023, WHO launched a three-year project to integrate breast and cervical cancer services into primary health care services, in Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya and Zimbabwe, targeting more than 300,000 women.

She said twenty-seven countries in the region have already started HPV vaccination, making it part of routine vaccination in young women and advocated accelerating the introduction of the life-saving HPV vaccine single dose which according to her, had shown to be highly effective, and which means that young women are less likely to drop out of the vaccine schedule.

According to ber, already, 4 countries have adopted the single dose vaccine and the region as a whole, is scaling up and increasing HPV vaccine coverage in the target populations.

The regional Director, urged all countries in the region to actively engage in awareness campaigns, promote screening and encourage HPV vaccination among their young women as cervical cancer can be prevented and can be cured.


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