Health of Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole has urged Commonwealth Ministers to designate Cervical Cancer as a major public health challenge and intensify efforts to attract investment in vaccine access and treatment.
Making the call on Sunday during the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting, on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Adewole urged the ministers to increase investments in Cervical Cancer Control efforts in less developed regions of the world.
He described Cervical Cancer as a disease of inequity, citing an International Agency for Research on Cancer Report which revealed that almost nine out of 10, representing 87 per cent cervical cancer deaths are recorded in the less developed regions of the world.
“If we do nothing, your excellences the burden of cervical cancer will increase, by 2035 and increase of 72 per cent, far higher than the global increase of 43 per cent. We will also record near 50 per cent increase in mortality.”
According to Adewole, the report showed that the poorest countries will suffer more from Cervical Cancer. “This is a systems failure and it occurs because the systems have failed, the people have failed and we have failed everybody.”
The event has the theme: ‘Cervical Cancer: A Non Communicable Disease; We can Overcome’.
Prof. Adewole while discussing his efforts said: “The poor people are affected, and for me, at governmental level, we need to improve socio-economic status in the country; we need to improve wellbeing. We need to build a strong system.”
“The first thing I did last year was to say we will offer free screenings to about 200,000 women across the country and this year my main mission is to screen women free of charge in Nigeria for Cervical Cancer.
“And for the first time, I have been able to put Cancer Prevention in my health budget, which is also significant. It is not the quantum of money that is there but the fact that I have been able to include and I know that within the next one or two years I will be able to grow that money.”
The Minister disclosed that the three main NCDs killing Nigerians include Cancer, Renal and Cardiac Problems.
Similarly, he disclosed that the government is currently equipping seven centres for cancer prevention and management which he designated as “centres of excellence.”
“We believe that each of those centres should be able to handle surgical oncology, radiotherapy and medical oncology,” Professor Adewole said.