The World Health Organization, WHO, on Tuesday commissioned the global strategy to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer globally.
WHO, while outlining the three key steps to achieving the goal – vaccination, screening and treatment, noted that successful implementation of all three could reduce more than 40 percent of new cases of the disease and 5 million related deaths by 2050.
“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.”
The WHO Assistant Director-General, Dr Princess Nothemba (Nono) Simelela, added, “The huge burden of mortality related to cervical cancer is a consequence of decades of neglect by the global health community. However, the script can be rewritten.
“Critical developments include the availability of prophylactic vaccines; low-cost approaches to screening and treating cervical cancer precursors; and novel approaches to surgical training. Through a shared global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and leaving no-one behind, the countries of the world are forging a new path to ending cervical cancer.
“The fight against cervical cancer is also a fight for women’s rights: the unnecessary suffering caused by this preventable disease reflects the injustices that uniquely affect women’s health around the world. Together, we can make history to ensure a cervical cancer-free future.”
The development 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 stressed 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.