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Cervical Cancer: Second Largest killer Of Women In Poor Countries

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The World Health Organisation has launched an initiative seeking an accelerated elimination of cervical cancer.

Rwanda’s Kigali International Convention Centre lit blue in support of this initiative although many may not have noticed the sudden switch to a UN light Blue.

“Kigali Convention Centre in teal colour to join hands with other partners on the launch of the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer,” the KCC management said on Tuesday.

Cervical cancer is a preventable disease and is the fourth most common cancer among women globally.

Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame on Tuesday expressed concern that while the world has all it takes to stop cervical cancer, women in low and middle-income economies are still succumbing to it.

“Up to 93% of cervical cancers are preventable, but today, cervical cancer is the second largest killer of women in low and middle-income countries after breast cancer. This is unacceptable when taking into account the available technology, policies and cost-effective measures for early diagnosis and treatment,” the First Lady said.

The First lady made these remarks Tuesday while speaking at the Virtual Launch of the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer.

In rolling out its fight against cervical cancer the WHO Global Strategy has launched three key steps: vaccination, screening and treatment.

According to WHO, successful implementation of all three steps could reduce more than 40% of new cases of the disease and 5 million related deaths by 2050.

“Eliminating any cancer would have once seemed an impossible dream, but we now have the cost-effective, evidence-based tools to make that dream a reality,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“But we can only eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem if we match the power of the tools we have with unrelenting determination to scale up their use globally,” Dr Tedros added.

Without taking additional action, the annual number of new cases of cervical cancer is expected to increase from 570 000 to 700 000 between 2018 and 2030, while the annual number of deaths is projected to rise from 311 000 to 400 000.

In low- and middle-income countries, its incidence is nearly twice as high and its death rates three times as high as those in high-income countries.

“The huge burden of mortality related to cervical cancer is a consequence of decades of neglect by the global health community. However, the script can be rewritten,” says WHO Assistant Director-General Dr Princess Nothemba (Nono) Simelela.

“Critical developments include the availability of prophylactic vaccines; low-cost approaches to screening and treating cervical cancer precursors; and novel approaches to surgical training. Through a shared global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and leaving no-one behind, the countries of the world are forging a new path to ending cervical cancer,” Simelela says.

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