FLAC marks 1st Yr of Global Strategy to Accelerate Elimination of Cervical Cancer

First Ladies Against Cancer (FLAC) commemorates the first year of the Global
Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer.

• There are 12,075 new cases of Cervical Cancer in Nigeria every year
• It is the 2nd most common cancer amongst women in Nigeria
• Cervical Cancer is preventable with HPV vaccination
• Get Screened Today! Early Detection saves Lives.

Abuja, Nigeria, 16-11-2021 – It has been 365 days since the launch of the Global Strategy to
Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer by the World Health Organization. We commend the renewed commitment of all cervical cancer advocates in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health, international and indigenous partners to deliver on the stated objectives of this strategy by 2030: to achieve 90% HPV vaccination coverage, 70% screening coverage, and 90% access to treatment for cervical pre-cancer and cancer.

In Nigeria, cervical cancer is the 3rd most common form of cancer and 2nd most common among women. It accounted for 9.7% of all malignancies in 2020, recording an estimated 12,075 new cases and 7,968 deaths annually.

These numbers tell the unfortunate reality of cervical cancer in Nigeria and most African countries, a cancer that is largely preventable, treatable and can be eliminated.

As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the commitment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
to cancer care assures us that equitable access to quality services is achievable by 2030.

Albeit, we had hoped that at the time of this commemoration, HPV vaccines would be available on the nation’s routine immunization schedule. Global supply chain challenges and inequalities of access have deferred this critical milestone in our elimination roadmap.

Nonetheless, we are glad to see
that the Federal government is delivering on interventions within its control like the Cancer Health Fund which has now increased access to diagnostic and treatment services across the country through 6 tertiary cancer care centres evenly distributed across geopolitical zones.

It remains painfully unacceptable that millions of Nigerian and African adolescent girls do not have access to HPV vaccination through our primary healthcare structures. We must place a demand on the pharmaceutical industry, WHO, policymakers in high income countries, and the African aUnion to prioritize our girls and address the drivers of this inequity. We at FLAC will be at the forefront of this call to action as we launch the “FLAC Vaccine Access Programme” on the 16th of November, which aims to increase awareness, drive demand, and most of all provide access
to HPV vaccines in our states.

Our vaccine access programme will catalyze access to HPV vaccine for families that can afford out of pocket payment in the immediate term and at the same time, advocating for inclusion of HPV vaccine into routine immunization to cater for those that
can’t afford out of pocket payment. We will start this with a series of Townhall meetings on cervical cancer prevention, screening and awareness through our community outreach programme.

These town hall events will hold in our individual states on the 17th of November 2021.
Our continued partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) is delivering routine cervical cancer screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions through public health facilities to 10,000 women following a scale-up of the CHAI led program to include Kebbi and Niger states. This intervention approach is building the capacity of our health systems to sustain these services, we are grateful to the two state governments, as well as both organizations. It is our prayer that we continue on this journey in the coming year to reach more women across Nigeria.

We call on global and national actors critical to delivering cervical cancer elimination to borrow from the positives of the COVID-19 pandemic response. When words translate into urgent actions, we have favourable outcomes.

Accelerating the elimination of cervical cancer requires greater political will and global cooperation that will prioritize improved access to HPV vaccines for low and middle income countries. FLAC will continue to pay close attention to the implementation of the global strategy, offering our support to bring about the desired outcomes in Nigeria.

Together We Beat Cervical Cancer!
For more information about the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical
Cancer: https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2021/11/17/default-calendar/marking-thefirst-year-of-the-cervical-cancer-elimination-movement

First Ladies Against Cancer (FLAC) is a coalition of the spouses of current and former state
governors of Nigeria working to address gaps in the cancer continuum of care; increasing
awareness, facilitating access to screening and treatment services, and advocating for the
implementation of policies that will deliver equitable access to quality cancer care services
irrespective of where you are located in Nigeria.

Published by WonderLady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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