Vanguard (Lagos)

22 July 2014

Africa: 'African Women Have Limited Capacity to Negotiate Condom'

Dr Ademola Olajide, UN Fund for Population (UNFPA) Representative, on Monday said that African women have limited capacity to negotiate condom use.

He said this at the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa in Windhoek, Namibia.

Olajide, who spoke on gender perspectives and cancer in Africa, added that they also had limited financial access to female condom hence they become more vulnerable to infections.

He said native common sense and African intelligence assumes one need to have a breast before contracting cancer, prostate before having prostate cancer and cervix before contracting cervical cancer.

"How many men know that they have prostate cancer; if you look at how we have socialised our society and organise our health system and programmes.

"We see the vulnerability of men and women with various cancers as a consequence of their socialisation," he said.

Olajide said that in Africa, there were still several societal practices that promote multiple partners, wife inheritance, gender based violence and lots of things that make women vulnerable to HIV infection.

He also said that human Pabiloma virus which makes them vulnerable to cancer of the cervix.

"Their vulnerability is not only as a result of health issues but also the social structure that we have put in place," he said.

He explained that most behavioural change messages that were put up in the media were gender specific approaches.

"When we see posters of self breast examination, they are almost always focusing on women. Hardly do you see such posters focusing on men," Olajide noted.

Also, Dr Jean Dangou, WHO Regional Advisor for cancer prevention and control, projected that there would be 26.4 million cases of cancer worldwide by 2030.

He said that there would be 16.4 million deaths and 75 million people living with cancer.

"The incidence is almost 25 per cent higher in men than in women, the rate of 205 and 165 per 100,000 people respectively," he said.

"There is a less regional variability for mortality than for incidence; the rate being 15 per cent higher in more developed countries than in less developed regions in men and eight per cent higher in women," Dangou said.

He explained that the devolution worldwide showed that in developing countries going through rapid and societal economic changes, there is a rising burden of cancers associated with reproductive and risk factors.

Besides, he said that there were also huge inequalities between poor countries and rich countries.

"The incidence rates are highest in more developed regions but mortality is relatively higher in less developed countries.

"When we go to women cancer epidemiology in Africa, cervical cancer and breast cancer are the commonest women cancers," said Dangou.

He noted that there was slight variation according to sub-regions in Africa; breast cancer being the number one in Northern and Western Africa.

He said that cervical cancer is number one in Southern Africa and Eastern Africa.

"With regards to breast cancer, the incidence is the highest in Northern Africa and Western Africa.

"Since 2008 estimate, breast cancer has increased by more than 20 per cent in our countries," Dangou said.

NAN

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