Olanrewaju Lawal,Birnin Kebbi
Nigeria’s First Ladies Against Cancer (FLAC) have sought for the vaccination of 90 percentage of Nigeria’s girls with HPV vaccine before they attain age of 15 years old as well as 70% of women be screened twice in their lifetime using a high- performance test to eliminate Cancer by year 2030.
They noted that as first Ladies of States in Nigeria, working on cancer issues through their individual Non -Governmental organizations across the six geopolitical parts of the country, they are confronted daily by cancer patients with limited treatment options.
FLAC ,with the Kebbi State Governor Wife,Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, and Dr Nono Simelela, Assistant Director -General for Strategic Programmatic Priorities: Cervical Cancer Elimination of World Health Organization (WHO) , stated this in a joint statement made available to newsmen in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State capital on Saturday.
They noted that, in 2008, there was an estimated 14,943 new cases and an estimated 10,403 deaths from cervical cancer in Nigeria according to GLOBOCAN 2018.
According to them, ” research shows that poor awareness with an underlying weak healthcare system that lacks a screening policy and accurate diagnostic tools are the major contributors that account for the high morbidity and mortality associated with the disease.
“As First Ladies of States in Nigeria, working on cancer issues through our individual Non-Governmental organizations across the six geopolitical parts of the country, we are confronted daily by cancer patients with limited treatment options. The main roles of our coalition ‘First Ladies against cancer (FLAC), is advocacy to increase awareness, access to cancer care, influencing policy changes in Nigeria with the collective aim of reducing the cancer burden in the country.
“As such, we saw the rationale behind the call by WHO to eliminate Cervical cancer and align with it. For countries to be on the path towards cervical cancer elimination, the new global strategy calls for achieving the following targets by 2030:
” 90% of girls fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by 15 years of age;
70% of women screened twice in their lifetime, using a high-performance test. 90% of women identified with cervical disease receive treatment (90% of women with precancer treated, and 90% of women with invasive cancer managed)”.
They added that, by giving the HPV vaccine to all young girls before they reach 15 years of age, it means in the next 20 to 30 years, there will be no cases of cervical cancer.
” In order to achieve this, Nigeria needs to incorporate HPV vaccination into the National immunization program, one of the key advocacies that FLAC has been pushing for. Nigeria has finally committed to the introduction of HPV vaccine into the immunization programme by the first quarter of 2021 but millions of doses are needed and there is doubt availability will meet global demand. “