At least, 26 women die of cervical cancer daily in Nigeria, and the country has the highest cancer death rate in Africa, said the Director of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu.
Shinkafi-Bagudu, who made this known during the commemoration of this year’s World Polio Day in Kebbi State, announced that Nigeria is set to commence vaccination against the disease, sequel to the adoption of a global strategy by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to eliminate the cervical cancer by 2030.
According to her, “26 women die of cervical cancer daily, and as it stands, Nigeria has the highest cancer death rate in Africa. Cervical cancer can be eliminated by a simple vaccine against the human papilloma virus- HPV.
“As we have learnt from the polio experience, providing the vaccine without adequately educating our communities will lead to failure.
“In Yauri, Kebbi State, with funding from Jaiz Foundation, we pioneered a pilot vaccination study for 100 girls, the findings of which will be published soon in a peer review journal.
“Thus, it is my prayer that the fight against cervical cancer, using the HPV vaccine, receives the same momentum that polio has received in Nigeria.”
She also said that her foundation, Medicaid Cancer Foundation, in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) had been working with local and international partners to ensure the vaccination became a reality for women.
In his remarks, the WHO Representative, Dr. Razi Muktar, acknowledged the role played by the traditional institution in the fight against polio, especially the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera.
“We shall also support the state government to deliver an integrated service delivery and strengthen primary health services,” he said.
Also, a representative of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Alhaji Shehu Abdul-Ganiyu, stressed the need for continued polio immunisation in spite of polio free certification indices of the country.