In a bid to curtail rising cases of cervical cancer, the most common female cancer in developing countries, the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Oyo State Branch will in January, 2017 vaccinate 100 girls against the disease.
President, MWAN, Oyo, Dr Olulola Oladapo made the announcement at an awareness symposium on “Preventing Cervical Cancer through early vaccination” by the association in Ibadan.
The exercises, which will be the first phase of vaccination, she stated would ensure that the girls have two doses of cervical cancer vaccine.
Dr Oladapo, who solicited for funding to ensure more girls can also be vaccinated, urged that the audience at the programme spread information of cervical cancer.
She urged the students drawn from 14 secondary schools to abstain from sex still marriages, stating that this was the best protective measure against cervical cancer.
Dr Bukola Adesina, a consultant obstetric and gynaecologist, in an overview of cervical cancer and its prevention said around the world, a woman dies form cervical cancer every two minutes.
Adesina, who remarked that over 880 per cent of these deaths occur in developing countries like Nigeria, said that it is projected that about 30 per of 100,000 women in Nigeria will develop the cancer.
The expert declared that cervical cancer was essentially a sexually transmitted disease, declaring that people with multiple partners, who have sex before age 20 or previous history of a sexually transmitted disease had a higher chance of developing the cancer.
She linked high deaths in cervical cancer in Nigeria to low awareness on cervical cancer in the community, lack of effective screening programmes and low socioeconomic and educational level.
The medical expert declared, “as long as a woman has had sex even once, she is at risk, as such she must be screened.”
Adesina, however, stated that even when vaccinated, women still need to get screen regularly to be sure they are at risk of developing the cancer.
“You can prevent cervical cancer; HPV vaccine is the key but also screening is important,” she declared.
Dr Foluso Balogun, Institute of Child Health, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan declared that cervical cancer vaccination in Nigeria is long overdue given that the country had little or no facility to treat and prevent the disease.
Balogun stated that the few cervical cancer screening programmes were not coordinated, but scattered all over the country, unlike other countries in Subsaharan Africa where the vaccination programmes on the cancer had started.
She stated that although the vaccine is effective, its cost, socio-cultural issues, corruption and non existence of adolescent health programme had hampered its uptake.
Dr Bridget Kolade, Vine Branch Medical Centre, Ibadan, however, stated that to scale up cervical cancer screening, more people need to be trained for it.
Kolade, noted that misconceptions on the cancer was rife in the community, as some women believe that once they had stopped having sex, they cannot develop the cancer.