Cervical cancer elimination strategy launched

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Lesotho has joined the world health facility, WHO and the rest of the world to launch the global strategy for elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem. It will officially be launched worldwide at around 15:30 hours today.

Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells and spread in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus. Many new cases are diagnosed each year among women in Lesotho.

Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), an infection with no noticeable symptoms. Prolonged HPV infection cause changes in the cells of the cervix. These changes can lead to the development of cancer. Worldwide, almost all cervical cancers are caused by an HPV infection.

Speaking at the launch at Pioneer Mall, Mphu Ramatlapeng stated she is proud that Lesotho is a signature to the elimination strategy of cervical cancer.

“Lesotho, Botswana, Rwanda and South Africa are the only African countries that felt the need to put their signatures and to be the sponsors of this elimination strategy,” Ramatlapeng said.

WHO adopted the Cervical Cancer Elimination Strategy following an Australia-led resolution in August this year.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally. Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals, including goal 3 for good health and well-being for all and goal 5 for gender equality. Join the movement and take action on these issues and more here.

The adoption of the Global Strategy on the Elimination of Cervical Cancer, which was first proposed during the 73rd World Health Assembly in May, has been applauded by activists as a vital step in lessening health inequalities for women globally.

The strategy seeks to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health concern across the world and focuses on three key pillars — preventing cervical cancer through widespread HPV vaccination, screening precancerous lesions and managing and treating invasive cervical cancer.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called on states to follow the 90-70-90 targets.

“Ninety percent of girls should be fully vaccinated by 15 years of age, 70 percent of women should be screened at least twice with a high-performance test by age 45 and 90 percent of women with pre-cancer or cancer should receive the appropriate care and treatment, including palliative care,” Dr. Tedros explained during a WHO video. “We believe all countries can meet these ambitious goals.”

In 2018, over 300,000 women died from the disease, the majority in low- and middle-income countries.

If 78 of the poorest nations are able to commit to the vaccination, screening and treatment targets, 70 million cervical cancer cases could be averted, and 62 million lives could be spared, according to Cancer Council New South Wales.

Australia has long been regarded as a world leader in cervical cancer prevention. In 2017, Australia became one of the first nations to offer HPV-based cervical screenings — an accomplishment introduced four years after the country’s free HPV vaccination program expanded to include boys because they can be HPV carriers.

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