Peasant women more vulnerable to cervical cancer

Ghanaian peasant women farmers and traders lead the queue of cervical cancer sufferers in the country, statistics at the country’s two leading health facilities had revealed.

Forty seven point eight per cent (47.8%) of women diagnosed of the disease at the Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals (KATH) were peasant farmers while 30 per cent are traders or women engaged in business activities.

Forty six (46) per cent of those infected are married with the widowed constituting 26 per cent. Divorced women form 23 per cent.

Mr Paul Agyeman Badu of the Oncology Directorate of KATH, who made these known, said KATH remains the top referral destination, accounting for about 64.8 per cent.

He was speaking at a launch of a Foundation to promote awareness and prevention of the disease in Kumasi on Wednesday.

Known as “Foundation for Cervical Cancer and Prevention (FCCP)”, it is being spearheaded by Dr Rudolph Kantum Adageba, a Senior Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at KATH and it seeks to create awareness and educate women on the need for regular screening.

It would, additionally, mobilize funds to set up screening centres at designated health facilities and stage campaigns to get cervical screening and treatment covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Mr Agyeman Badu, Country Director, African Cancer Organisation (ACO), expressed concern, that 66 per cent of the infected report to the hospitals only when their situation had become fatal, though the disease is treatable at the early stage.

He attributed the late report of the disease to stigmatization, fear and shyness.

Mr Agyeman Badu called for broad and effective partnership among research institutions, national governments and the pharmaceutical industry to deal with the problem.

He also spoke of the need for the development of achievable and sustainable national cancer plans that are evidence based, prevention driven and supported with adequate resources for Ghana and other African countries.

Madam Animah Wilson, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, who performed the launch of the Foundation and a handbook on the disease, called for simple but effective public education campaign, especially among rural women and traders, who have been identified as the most vulnerable to undertake regular screening for early treatment of the disease.

She appealed to women to cooperate and make themselves available for frequent examination of their cervix to know their status.

Dr Alexander Tawiah Odoi, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KATH, praised Dr Adageba for the initiative and said the book could not have come at a more opportune time to engender public discourse of the disease.

Dr Adageba said the Foundation would assist women, especially the girl-child in the areas of primary prevention and cure.

Source: GNA

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