Evercare Hospital, a subsidiary of Evercare Group, a global healthcare investment group, has advocated for the use of cervical cancer vaccine against rising cases and deaths from the disease.
Cervical cancer refers to cancer of the neck of the womb and has remained a serious health problem in Nigeria and other developing countries.
Olasupo Orimogunje, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Evercare Hospital said that the vaccines can prevent the preclinical stage from developing.
According to Orimogunje, it took so much for researchers to get things to this stage, but it is taking quite an inordinate amount of time for this breakthrough in research to permeate communities, especially in low-income countries like Nigeria.
“This cancer is still a big killer in countries like Nigeria, second only to breast cancer,” he said.
The doctor further explained that approximately 8000 women die yearly in Nigeria from cancer of the cervix, which is roughly 22 women every day and almost one woman every hour.
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“In the United Kingdom, cervical cancer is the 12th commonest cancer in women because of the introduction of vaccination and screening programmes, with only 850 women dying yearly (approximately 2 daily, or 6 when corrected to match Nigeria’s 200m population),” he explained.
“This is projected to reduce further in the next decade. The development of the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) was a master stroke of scientific genius coupled with the collaboration of farmers, priests, and nuns, hence the title of this article.”
Orimogunje lamented that a cancer that is so easily preventable was killing thousands of women every year in Nigeria, adding that the disease not only has a vaccine that can prevent it but also has a treatable precursor stage that can last several years, providing an opportunity for treatment before cancer develops.
“It currently costs approximately N40, 000 to N50,000 spread over 6 months to get fully vaccinated. This is a small amount when we compare the cost of having to treat cancer or lose women in the prime of their life.
By killing women in their prime, cervical cancer has far greater repercussions on society than other cancers that tend to affect people more in the older age group.
Charity organisations all over are encouraged to sponsor programmes of vaccination and screening for all women to prevent this easily preventable cancer from continuing to devastate our communities,” he said.