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World Health Organisation advocates intensive cervical cancer awareness

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World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged African governments to mount an aggressive campaign to deal with cervical cancer which is attacking many women across the continent.

Every year in Africa, according to WHO statistics, 97,000 women develop cervical cancer while 56,000 die of disease.

WHO representative in Malawi, Eugene Nyako, said the majority of cases and deaths can be prevented through universal access to comprehensive cervical cancer prevention and control services through public awareness.

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Nyako said tools to detect and control cervical cancer among women are readily available in many health facilities, hence the need to increase efforts to reach out to the affected.

“We have solutions, the tools needed to fight and defeat cervical cancer are available and the important thing now is to use them as effectively as we can. If we put our efforts together, I believe we can defeat it,” he said

He was speaking on the sideline of a five-day training of trainers from 10 African countries on advocacy, information and communication on cervical cancer and also strategic planning on prevention and control of the disease.

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Locally, it is estimated that over 2,300 women are found with the disease and over 1,600 die every year.

Minister of Health, Peter Kumpalume, recognises the burden of the disease among women and said this is an opportune time for the country to learn strategies to control the disease, especially in the hard-to-reach areas.

“Firstly, they[trainers] are going to develop strategies on how we can inform people to know about the disease, secondly, on the strategies in terms of screening, better tools will be put in place to detect women who have cancer. The knowledge gained throughout this week will alleviate the challenge the country has on community sensitisation,” he explained.

Countries present include Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Zambia.

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