A Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua, Edo State, Dr Qudus Lawal said implementing the World Health Organisation’s cervical cancer strategic interventions will help to eliminate the disease in the country.
Dr Lawal said Nigeria has the tools and know-how to achieve the strategic interventions.
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Various strains of the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted infection, play a role in causing most cervical cancer.
According to the WHO, every country should meet the 90-70-90 targets by 2030 to get on the path to eliminating cervical cancer within the next century.
It said achieving that goal rests on three key pillars and their corresponding targets of fully vaccinating 90 per cent of girls with the HPV vaccine by the age of 15; screening 70 per cent of women using a high-performance test by the age of 35, and again by the age of 45; and treating 90 per cent of women with pre-cancer treated and 90 per cent of women with invasive cancer managed.
Lawal said achieving the goal requires the active participation of the youths in the various strategic interventions in a statement he jointly signed as the convener of Cancer Advocacy Nigeria and the Secretary, Dr Donald O. Oriaifo.
Charging Nigerian youths to promote cervical cancer awareness, the gynaecologist said 83 per cent of the disease occurs in low- and middle-income countries, where resources are limited.
“This, coupled with the late presentation seen in 80 per cent of patients, makes the disease one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in LMICs.
“In 2020, Globocan data shows that over 600,000 new cases were diagnosed and more than 340,000 preventable deaths occurred. Against this backdrop, the WHO called for global action to end cervical cancer this century.
“An incidence of 12,075 and 7,968 deaths makes Nigeria the country with the highest absolute number of cases in Africa and thus the country is critical in achieving the global elimination target. This goal will require the active participation of the youths in the various strategic interventions.
“CANCAD Nigeria, a youth-based cancer advocacy group, believes the failure to eliminate cervical cancer is not an option because we have the tools and know-how to achieve the feat. The group is engendering action among the youth to take action today to make the world a cervical cancer-free place for the next generation.”
The statement noted that the group held a varian documentary show titled ‘Conquering Cancer’ at Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, to commemorate the World Cancer Day marked on February 4.
It also said the participants brainstormed on four workshop seminar topics highlighting the role of the government, advocacy in rural communities, collaboration among stakeholders, and the need for school-based advocacy clubs and groups.
“The highlight of the day was the presentation of cash prizes to winners of an essay competition, on the ‘Role of Youths in Improving Cervical Cancer Awareness and HPV Vaccination Uptake in Rural Communities.’ David Ihonde and Rhoda Paul-Osagie of the medicine department emerged in the first and the second positions respectively, while Sandra Egbujuo of the Nursing department, AAU came third,” the statement added.