The Rwandan Government’s move to administer HPV vaccine for all adolescent girls(12-15 years) in schools was not only timely but also worth applause.
The move was not just an act of execution of the Government’s duty.
It was a robust move aimed at mitigating the suffering of women especially, from a scorching ailment like cervical cancer.
Last week, scores of girls were vaccinated against the ruinous cervical cancer prevalent in women. This is a life threatening disease that poses a constant threat on the lives of young and old women across the globe.
Cancer is a staggering epidemic. The sheer number of people affected is as heartbreaking as it is mystifying.
Worse still, is that several research reports about cancer and other ailments continue to heap scary findings about Africa’s worrying trends of the disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, the cancer prevalence trend in Africa is an upward spiral. Despite the continued increases of cancer occurrences, there is negligible attention from the public health perspective.
In 2008 alone, there was a record mark of 512,400 cancer deaths with 681,000 new cases.
The Global Cancer Facts and Figures 2nd edition criticises the trend of cancer in Africa.
It notes that cancer may be receiving little attention from public health officials because of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis that take precedence and from limited resources.
These facts raise concerns that more women will develop cancer as unhealthy lifestyle practices continue to emerge from economic development that include smoking, poor diets and physical inactivity.
The types of cancer that are pressing concerns are cervix, liver and Kaposi sarcoma.
The marauding portrayal of Africa as a land of famine, disease and poverty by the developed powers ruins the African image. However, the big question is: Is this factual or fiction?
Whatever the answer, the underlying issue is the expedient need to embrace a proactive approach in dealing with life threatening epidemics that can sweep all citizenry down stream.
The Rwandan Government however, has not been and does not intend to be a slouch in implementing policies that are for the good of the people.
The plan to start cancer screening for older women in the near future is yet another step toward combating the cervix cancer. The move, will secure citizens especially women who are commonly affected by breast and cervix cancer.
There is urgent need for other stakeholders and charity organizations to step up cancer prevention campaigns.Cancer prevention diets should be encouraged in schools and among the general public.
Foods that increase the risk of any type of cancer should be discouraged while those that support the body and strengthen the immune system should be promoted.
Discouraging the use of alcohol among students and promoting regular physical exercises are a great start to anti-cancer lifestyle.