WHY IS CERVICAL CANCER STILL A PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERN?
Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women, especially in sub-saharan Africa (Jedy-Agba et al., 2020). In 2020, cervical cancer was the second leading cause of cancer deaths among African females, with a 19.8% mortality rate (Globocan, 2020).
Cervical cancer is a public health concern because:
- In 2018 an estimated 570,000 cases and 311,000 mortalities were recorded globally (Nwabichie et al., 2018);
- Research showed that uptake of cervical cancer screening among African women was very low (Nwabichie et al., 2018);
- 99% of cases are from infections with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV); (WHO, n.d.);
- Over 80% of cases are diagnosed in developing countries in Africa and Asia (Goldie et al., 2008) and;
- Over 85% of deaths occur in low and middle-income countries (Goldie et al., 2008).
The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 announced a global call to action towards the elimination of cervical cancer with;
A threshold of 4 cases per 100,000 women-years for cervical cancer treatment;
A vision of a world where the disease is not a public health concern;
90% of girls fully vaccinated by 15 years;
70% of women being screened by 35 years and again by 45 years;
90% of identified cases receiving treatment for both pre-cancer and invasive cancer management (WHO, 2020).
Our contribution to ensure these goals are achieved in our country and globally, is highlighted in 3 major areas in the next post.
What other ways can we achieve this?