1 May 2014

Mozambique: First Lady Launches Campaign Against Cervical Cancer

Seoul — Mozambique's First Lady, Maria da Luz Guebuza, launched on Thursday in the Korean capital of Seoul, a global campaign seeking the resources necessary to eliminate cervical, breast and prostate cancer throughout the world.

With this initiative, launched during the Annual Conference of the Global Academic Programmes, it is intended to involve all currents of society in the efforts to eradicate these cancers through the promotion of universal access to prevention, screening and treatment.

A similar campaign was launched by Maria Guebuza in New York, in 2013, at the United Nations General Assembly, in her capacity of chairperson of the Forum of African First Ladies Against Breast and Cervical Cancer, as part of the challenge to reduce all forms of cancer in Africa.

Speaking at the Seoul ceremony, Guebuza said the act was a renewal of the undertaking given in this global campaign to eliminate cancer. It was urgent, she added, to continue advocacy so that no woman, child or man dies of cancer because of lack of access to information, prevention or treatment.

“We want to see fewer women and men suffering from cancer”, she stressed. She hoped that, with the involvement of all of society in this struggle, “in the coming years, we shall avoid millions of deaths through the prevention, screening and treatment of all types of cancer”.

If the effort was shared by everyone, she continued, she envisaged a world where a variety of services would be available to diagnose and treat cervical, breast and prostate cancer.

“We can all guarantee that women and men, wherever they are born and wherever they live, are protected against cancer”, said Guebuza, stressing that society bears the responsibility for research, advocacy, training - and for informing people of the fact that cancer need not be fatal; if diagnosed at an early stage.

In her intervention, on the theme “Moving Forward to End Cervical Cancer Now: Universal Access to Cervical Prevention”, Guebuza portrayed the current state of the disease in the world, noting that it remains serious, particularly in developing countries such as Mozambique.

She said that, despite a series of measures under way, as part of Mozambique's National Strategic Plan for the control of non-transmissible disease, which has endowed 95 health units with the capacity to diagnose and treat cervical cancer, the disease remains a major cause of death among women.

As in most African countries, which lack the technical, financial and human capacity for an appropriate response in terms of the prevention and treatment of cancer, the situation in Mozambique is exacerbated by the high prevalence of diseases associated with HIV and AIDS.

“Faced with the scenario brought to us by cancer, the question we raise is: how can we join our efforts to eliminate cervical cancer?”, Guebuza asked the scientists, pharmaceutical representatives, researchers, members of government and NGOs attending the ceremony.

One of the ways forward, she suggested, was the sharing of advances in cancer research. She also called for establishing new partnerships and strengthening the existing ones, as well as coordinating efforts between drug manufacturers, service providers and consumer countries.

Guebuza announced that the Eighth Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer In Africa Conference will be held in Namibia in mid-July. The Seventh conference took place in Maputo last year, and adopted a declaration with the purpose of mobilizing more efforts to increase the levels of cancer prevention, screening and treatment.

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