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Faith leaders meet in Kenya to enhance advocacy to eliminate cervical cancer across Africa

By Ronald Njoroge

Faith leaders met in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya this week to enhance advocacy and improve education in order to eliminate cervical cancer across Africa.

The three day  Nairobi Convening on cervical cancer and HPV vaccination  conference brought together more than 100 delegates drawn from various faith as well as health ministry officials to discuss ways to boost uptake of preventive measures to eliminate cervical cancer across the continent.

Father Charles Chilufya, chair of the preparation committee Africa Health and Economic Transformation Initiative (AHETI) said that cervical cancer is the leading cancer in women in Africa contributing to about 125,699 new cases and 80,614 deaths annually.

“Advocacy, awareness and community education are key strategies for mobilizing for effective, Africa-wide prevention and control of cervical cancer,” Chilufya said.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women, causing an estimated 662,300 new cases and 349,000 deaths annually.

Chilufya added that most women are diagnosed in advanced stages of the diseases, when treatment options are limited and more costly.

The faith leaders committed to enhanced collaborative networks by establishing new partnerships and strengthened existing ones among faith-based organizations, health authorities, advocacy and community groups to enhance the reach and effectiveness of cervical cancer prevention efforts.

The religious leaders also pledged to   conduct multiple sessions and workshops for faith leaders, equipping them with the necessary and relevant knowledge and resources to advocate effectively for behavioral change communication, HPV vaccination, HPV screening, treatment, palliative care and survivorship.

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