The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, raised the alarm that a total of 40 million women in Nigeria from the age of 15 years and above were at risk of developing Cervical Cancer.
The minister stated this on Friday during his session at the virtual stakeholders meeting on the elimination of cervical cancer in Nigeria held in Abuja on Friday.
While stating that the National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Cancer of the Cervix (2017-2021) has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic as government cannot fully implement it anymore, Ehnaire further mentioned that the government has embarked on a national response and critical activities that will help attain a cervical cancer-free Nigeria by the year 2030.
The Minister who also noted that cervix cancer was not only the second commonest cancer in women globally but also the leading cause of cancer mortality in Nigeria, said 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 ten of them presenting at an advance stage resulting in a mortality rate of about 25%.
” To reverse this trend, we have made efforts to increase our national capacity for prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of precancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix in Nigeria,” he said.
The minister also said the pandemic had distorted the federal government’s plan to fully implement some of the strategic plans in the health sector, especially those he noted were time-bound.
To this end, he has tasked relevant stakeholders to review the implementation of the strategic plan, identify gaps, and recommend ways forward.