By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
Federal government has said that about 14,089 Nigerians were usually diagnosed of cancer yearly with 25 per cent fatality.
Also, available data showed that 33 out of every 100,000 persons in the country were down with cancer.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire revealed this in his address at the stakeholders’ forum on the elimination of cervical cancer in Nigeria yesterday.
According to Ehanire, cancer of the cervix was the second commonest cancer in women globally and it was the leading cause of cancer mortality in Nigeria.
“With a total population of about 200 million people, Nigeria has about 40 million women aged 15 years and older who are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Available data indicates that the incidence of cervical cancer in Nigeria is about 33/100,000 and an estimated 14,089 are diagnosed every year, with eight out of every 10 of them presenting at an advance stage resulting in a mortality rate of about 25%,” he said.
The minister said that in order to reverse this trend, government had made efforts to increase national capacity for prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of precancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix in Nigeria.
He also said that the federal ministry of health is engaging several partners towards successful cancer prevention efforts in Nigeria.
This stakeholder forum is a product of such partnership. The John Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) is facilitating this forum to enable us review the National Strategic Plan for the prevention of cancer of the cervix in Nigeria.
Ehanire regretted that the Covid-19 pandemic had distorted the implementation of various strategic plans in the health sector.
‘One of such plans is the National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Cancer of the Cervix (2017-2021),” he said.
The minister however said that the ministry would spare no effort in ensuring that the global call for the eradication of cervical cancer by the year 2030 was achieved in Nigeria.
He said the ministry had taken steps to commence national immunisation programme against human papilloma virus (HPV) which is responsible for over 70% of cervical cancer and to increase screening campaigns hitherto conducted at the tertiary hospitals,
The Permanent Secretary, federal ministry of health, Alhaji Abdullahi Marshi said federal government’s priorities in addressing the challenge of SCD included primary prevention; repositioning of the SCD centres; capacity building; Integration of SCD care and services into the maternal and child health services especially at the primary and secondary levels of healthcare in Nigeria.
He said that government was also establishing a data registry for SCD for the country; enhancing sickle cell disease surveillance; scaling up of advocacy and mass mobilisation of communities for SCD across Nigeria including continuous advocacy for access to drugs and diagnostics including local production of Hydroxyurea for SCD and mass mobilisation for support for the newborn screening policy.
Other initiatives include, strengthening supportive supervision; monitoring and evaluation for SCD interventions and activities; and Improving and coordinating SCD research activities in the country.
The national strategic plan for prevention of cancer of the cervix provides a strategic direction for a national response to nib the scourge of cervical cancer in Nigeria in the bud.