WHO Makes Cervical Cancer Call for Africa

The World Health Health Organisation (WHO) has called on African countries to act swiftly to improve essential health services to adequately address cervical cancer.

Development Diaries reports that cervical cancer presents a significant public health threat to women in Africa, according to data from WHO.

The health body noted that 70,000 cervical cancer deaths in Africa could be averted annually if efforts are bolstered to increase access to critical services for timely detection, care and prevention.

According to the WHO’s global aims, countries must vaccinate 90 percent of women and girls against the human papilloma virus, achieve 70 percent cancer screening, and have 90 percent of women and girls with cancer receiving treatment by the year 2023.

‘Cancer illness is painfully devastating and affects families profoundly. But through early detection, care and prevention with vaccines, women and girls in our region can be protected from cervical cancer’, said WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti.

Data from an International Journal of Gynaecological Cancer report revealed that cervical cancer is the most common cause of death among women in 21 of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to findings by the health body, 26 countries in Africa have introduced the human papilloma virus vaccine, while only 31 percent of girls by the age of 15 received the first of the vaccine in the region in 2022.

Additionally, just 16 countries have introduced human papillomavirus-based screening at the sub-national level.

Africa Health Organisation (AHO), in its findings, reported that in Africa, 34 out of every 100,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 23 out of every 100,000 women die from cervical cancer every year.

WHO recommended that vaccination coverage should reach 90 percent of women and girls in 20 countries by 2024 in order to meet the global targets.

Also, national screening rates should reach 25 percent of women aged 30 to 49 years; and the treatment rate increased to 25 percent in at least ten countries.

Development Diaries urges health ministries in African countries to build a strong foundation for HPV vaccination programmes and ensure that they get to the girls and women who need them most.

Photo source: WHO


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