By 2030, there could be a reduction of 70 000 cervical cancer fatalities in Africa, according to health leaders. If the fight to eradicate cervical cancer by 2030 is promptly stepped up to provide expanded access to vital services for prompt identification, care, and prevention, almost 70 000 deaths per year might be avoided in the African region.
Health leaders and donors gathered this week in Gaborone, Botswana, for the seventy-third session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committed for Africa. They urged nations to act quickly to boost crucial health services so that cervical cancer can be adequately addressed in the region, which is home to 19 of the 20 countries with the highest burden of the disease globally.
According to the WHO’s global aims, countries must vaccinate 90% of women and girls against the human papilloma virus, achieve 70% cancer screening, and have 90% of women and girls with cancer receiving treatment by the year 2023.
Only 31% of girls by the age of 15 received the first dose of the human papilloma virus vaccine in the region in 2022, despite the fact that 26 nations in the African region have already made the vaccine available. Human papillomavirus-based screening has only been made available in 16 nations.
In order to attain the 2030 global targets, vaccination coverage for women and girls must reach 90% in 20 countries by 2024, national screening rates must reach 25% in at least 10 countries, and treatment rates must rise to 25% in these nations.
“Our nations’ health and well-being are correlated with the health and well-being of women. When women feel strong, valued, acknowledged, and appreciated, they are in good health. Furthermore, strong families, communities, and cultures are influenced by strong women. Because of this, African First Ladies are determined to seeing that cervical cancer is eradicated within a generation. Botswana’s first lady, H.E. Mrs. Neo Jane Masisi.
Governments fail to prioritize preventing cervical cancer, which results in insufficient financial and human resources being given to these programs. Effective control is hampered by the health workers’ limited ability to deliver complete preventative and control services, the disease’s low level of health literacy and awareness, and the expensive cost of supplies and vaccines.
Despite this, the area has made strides recently in the fight against cervical cancer. For instance, 70% coverage has been achieved in approximately 40% of the nations that give girls the first dose of the vaccination.
“Cancer is a horribly terrible disease that has a significant impact on families. But women and girls in our region can be protected from cervical cancer through early identification, care, and prevention using vaccines, according to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. As part of its support for national health priorities to fight diseases and enhance the health and wellbeing of the population in the region, the WHO has said that scaling up efforts for better access to cancer control services is a major priority.
In order to guarantee greater access to screening, vaccination, and treatment, WHO is collaborating with partners and funders to support governments in making cervical cancer control a top priority. In order to increase prevention and treatment, the Organization is also supporting tactics like single-dose immunization and incorporating the human papillomavirus vaccine into already-existing health programs.
cervical cancer fatalities in Africa
“As a member of the African Cervical Cancer Network, which met in Gaborone last week, we are calling on all African leaders to ensure cervical cancer is eliminated,” said Graça Machel, the founder of the Graça Machel Trust and the Foundation for Community Development. “Prevention, screening, treatment, and social supports require bold pledges and smart investment. The efficient HPV vaccine is our first line of defense. This vaccine is secure, beneficial, and life-giving. To safeguard young people and women and to move toward eradicating the dreadful cervical cancer, only one dose is required.
Additionally, programs to guarantee equitable access to inexpensive immunizations and screening with high-performance tests, particularly among high-risk groups, are being launched. These efforts are also being made to address inequities to address inadequate access to services among vulnerable populations.
In order to increase access to cancer control services, collaboration with communities, youth organizations, NGOs, and the commercial sector is essential. With over 300,000 fatalities each year, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent malignancy in women globally. It is mostly brought on by the human papillomavirus.
“The burden of cervical cancer disproportionately affects women in lower income countries, where access to the HPV vaccine has been limited,” said Chris Elias, head of global development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to supporting the WHO African Region as they establish a solid framework for HPV vaccination programs and make sure that these incredibly effective, life-saving resources are reaching the girls and women who need them the most,” the foundation stated.
By 2030, there could be a reduction of 70 000 cervical cancer fatalities in Africa, according to health leaders