WHO Sets Out Strategy for Eliminating Cervical Cancer

    Wahyu Dwi Anggoro - 17 November 2020 11:09 WIB
    WHO Sets Out Strategy for Eliminating Cervical Cancer
    Illustration (Photo:Medcom.id)
    Jakarta: WHO‘s Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer has been officially launched on Monday.

    The strategy outlines three key steps: vaccination, screening and treatment. 

    According to the UN Agency, successful implementation of all three could reduce more than 40% of new cases of the disease and 5 million related deaths by 2050.

    The strategy represents a historic milestone because it marks the first time that 194 countries commit to eliminating cancer - following adoption of a resolution at this year’s World Health Assembly. 

    The strategy also stresses that investing in the interventions to meet these targets can generate substantial economic and societal returns. 

    An estimated US$ 3.20 will be returned to the economy for every dollar invested through 2050 and beyond, owing to increases in women’s workforce participation. 

    The figure rises to US$ 26.00 when the benefits of women’s improved health on families, communities and societies are considered.

    "Eliminating any cancer would have once seemed an impossible dream, but we now have the cost-effective, evidence-based tools to make that dream a reality," said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement on Monday.

    "But we can only eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem if we match the power of the tools we have with unrelenting determination to scale up their use globally," he added.

    Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. It is also curable if detected early and adequately treated. Yet it is the fourth most common cancer among women globally. 

    Without taking additional action, the annual number of new cases of cervical cancer is expected to increase from 570 000 to 700 000 between 2018 and 2030, while the annual number of deaths is projected to rise from 311 000 to 400 000. 

    In low- and middle-income countries, its incidence is nearly twice as high and its death rates three times as high as those in high-income countries.

    The strategy was launched at a challenging time, however.

    The covid-19 pandemic has posed challenges to preventing deaths due to cancer, including the interruption of vaccination, screening and treatment services; border closures that reduced the availability of supplies and that prevent the transit of skilled biomedical engineers to maintain equipment; new barriers preventing women in rural areas from travelling to referral centres for treatment; and school closures that interrupt school vaccine programmes.


    (WAH)

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