The Minister of Health, Dr.Osagie Ehanire has revealed that cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in Nigeria and the second commonest cancer in women globally.
The Health Minister made these revelations in his address at the stakeholders’ forum on the elimination of cervical cancer in Nigeria held yesterday.
Dr Ehanire also disclosed that about 14,089 Nigerians were usually diagnosed of cancer yearly with 25 per cent fatality; with available data showing that 33 out of every 100,000 persons in the country were down with cancer.
In his words, “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 stated that in order to reverse this trend, the federal 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”, he added.
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.
Dr Ehanire 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 also disclosed that the health 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 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, he emphasised.