Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - Rwandan First Lady Jeannette Kagame on Tuesday commended continued efforts to include community education and social mobilisation towards addressing the gap in eliminating deaths caused by cervical cancer in Africa.
"Women living with HIV are up to 10 times more likely to develop cervical cancer, making it a major threat to the health of women living with HIV," Mrs Kagame said during an intervention on the sidelines of the week-long International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA).
UNAIDS has shown that cervical cancer can be prevented by vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) but still nine out of 10 women who die from the cancer live in low- and middle-income countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
If cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment efforts are not urgently scaled up, it is projected that this number could double by 2035, reports said.
As part of effort to tackle the disease, Rwandan First Lady's Foundation Imbuto offers services to families affected by HIV; and promotes the right of our young people, to be informed and access quality prevention and treatment services.
"It is very essential to protect these efforts, and ensure proper early screening and treatment services are accessible to our population," Mrs Kagame said.
Approaches recommended by health experts to reduce deaths from cervical cancer include health education, and HPV vaccination for adolescent girls.
"HPV is highly preventable disease, which touches on a sensitive aspect of women’s health, and it is is one that deserves more attention, as it has been the subject of misguided views that turned out to be detrimental to the early detection, and prevention," Mrs Kagame told delegates.
The vaccine is recommended for girls, and in some countries for boys aged 12 to 13 too, before sexual activity begins to avoid the risk of exposure to HPV.
-0- PANA TWA/AR 3Dec2019