A three-day international meeting of African First Ladies, African Ministers of Health and Members of Parliament is to be held in Accra from July 26-28 to discuss strategies for reducing cervical cancer in Africa.
The conference under the theme “Africa Unite in Action: Mobilising Political and Financial Support to Strengthen Cervical Cancer Prevention Integration” would be attended by doctors and other health practitioners.
It is being hosted by the government in collaboration with Princess Nikky Breast and Cervical Cancer Foundation, a Nigeria-based NGO at the forefront of breast and cervical cancer prevention and control in Africa.
The conference is to advocate for increased awareness on cervical cancer in Africa as well as mobilising for effective strategy implementation through working with other partners to reduce stigmatisation of people suffering and living with cervical cancer.
In addition, it would mobilise resources for the development of policies, strategies and action to fight cervical cancer at national, regional and international levels.
The conference is to update and educate stakeholders on recent developments in cervical cancer prevention in Africa, the world and to strategise and mobilise African Governments, global support and funding for cervical cancer prevention.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) studies, 18 per cent of all cancer deaths in Ghana are due to cervical cancer, adding “cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancers in women in Ghana”.
Unfortunately, most of the cancers seen at the country’s health facilities were advanced cases which could be cured if detected early and stated that management of those advanced cases was very expensive with poor results.
Ghana’s Health Minister, Dr Ben Kunbuor, expressed the hope that the conference would accelerate Ghana’s efforts at advocacy and awareness creation as well as enhance the country’s efforts of implementing a comprehensive cervical cancer prevention programme.
Cervical cancer affects tissues of the cervix (the organ connecting the uterus and the vagina). It is usually a slow-growing cancer that may not have symptoms but can be found with regular Pap tests (a procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix and looked at under a microscope).
It is almost always caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection.