I learned about cervical cancer and the people who die from the disease while doing my duty as a journalist. I never took the time to find out my status until October 2021, when an expert reiterated that early detection is key to surviving any form of cancer,” says Adenike Tambe, a health journalist based in Abuja.
Miss Tambe took advantage of the discount on the price of cancer tests carried out by the Medicaid Cancer Foundation (Non-Governmental Organization) as part of its activities to raise awareness against cancer.
When I found out about the discount, I decided to get screened for cervical cancer. My result came back negative and I received the first dose of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. Women should get tested, he said.
Miss Tambe is an example of how awareness raising efforts could encourage people to take action to protect themselves and the barriers faced by millions of Nigerians in accessing preventive interventions against cancer, especially cervical cancer.
With an estimated 12,075 cases of cervical cancer and 7,968 deaths recorded in Nigeria annually, the First Ladies of the States, under the auspices of First Ladies Against Cancer (FLAC), have responded to the call to action of the World Health Organization (WHO) on global plans to eliminate cervical cancer.
The World Health Organization hopes to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem by 2030.
With the rise in cervical cancer cases becoming a global concern, the wife of the Governor of Kebbi State, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, has been using her office to call for bold action. to ensure your state achieves the 90-70-90 target strategy.
Dr. Shinkafi-Bagudu, through her Non-Governmental Organization (Medicaid Cancer Foundation), has been leading the advocacy for the inclusion of cancer screening and treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) benefit package. ), raising awareness of cancers, including annual cancer. walk and lead the promotion of vaccinating girls across the country with the HPV vaccine.
It also advocates for early detection, improving the chances of successful treatment and raising awareness against the deadly disease.
“We saw the logic behind the WHO call to eliminate cervical cancer and align ourselves with it. In Kebbi State, with various campaigns and activities, many traditional rulers are now champions of cervical cancer. We supported community-based organizations to conduct more than 150 outreach events that reached all 21 local government areas of the state. These outreaches reached more than 26,000 women in 12 months,” he said.
To achieve the transformative actions that will accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer, Dr. Shinkafi-Bagudu called for HPV vaccination to be included in the national routine vaccination schedule.
She said that meeting the 2030 goals will require action rather than platitudes. He called on high-income countries to prioritize access to HPV vaccines for adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries.
Cervical cancer is a preventable and treatable disease. However, Nigeria has one of the highest numbers of cases in the entire world; Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in Nigerian women.
To that end, WHO provides catalytic support to 3 states in Nigeria, Kebbi, Niger and Ondo State for cervical cancer screening and treatment. The plan is to test at least 15,000 women in the first phase of the program.
With the support of WHO and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the first ladies of Kebbi, Niger and Ondo states are leading the implementation of cervical cancer screening and treatment in the states .
Emphasizing the importance of aligning with the strategy, WHO Country Representative (WR) Walter Kazadi Mulombo said support to states is part of WHO‘s efforts to ensure Nigeria joins the rest of the world on the WHO global cervical cancer elimination agenda.
In his remarks during International Cancer Week 2021, Dr. Kazadi Mulombo praised the government, especially FLAC, for supporting various cervical cancer elimination initiatives in their respective states.
“This survey will provide the latest data on NCDs and their risk factors for evidence-based interventions to curb modifiable risk factors for cancers,” he said.
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