Dr Zainab Shinkafi – Bagudu, the Director of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and the founder Medicaid Cancer Foundation, lets out that 26 women die daily because of cervical cancer in Nigeria, with over 36.59 million endangered globally.
She made this claim in Argungu Local Government Area of Kebbi at the 2020 World Polio Day, on Wednesday.
She asserted that,”More than 36.59 million women are at risk of cervical cancer globally and 26 die of the disease on daily basis in Nigeria.
“As it stands, Nigeria has the highest cancer death rate in Africa. Cervical cancer can be eliminated by a simple vaccine against the human papilloma virus- HPV.”
She revealed that the country is ready to begin the vaccination to fight the disease sequel to the adoption of a global strategy by World Health Organization (WHO) to eradicate cervical cancer by 2030.
She emphasized the necessity to learn from the polio incident, by guaranteeing sufficient awareness campaigns in communities in order to guarantee success of the exercise.
“As we have learnt from the polio experience, providing the vaccine without adequately educating our communities will lead to failure,” she said.
According to her, her foundation in cooperation with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), were already working with local and International allies to guarantee the vaccination comes to be a reality for women in the country.
“In Yauri, Kebbi State, with finding from Jaiz Foundation, we pioneered a pilot vaccination study for 100 girls, the findings of which will be published soon in a peer review journal.
“Thus, it is my prayer that the fight against cervical cancer using the HPV vaccine receives the same momentum that polio has received in Nigeria”.
The director advised Nigeria to maintain and strengthen responses, “as there exists not just polio but also a wide array of infectious disease threats in Africa.”
Dr Razi Muktar, a representative of WHO, conceded the function carried out by the traditional institution in the combat against the disease , especially the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera.
“We shall also support the state government to deliver an integrated service delivery and strengthen primary health services,” the WHO official assured.
A representative of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Shehu Abdul-Ganiyu, emphasized the need for proceeded polio immunization in spite of the polio-free certification of Nigeria.
Initially, Mera, recognized that it was reasonable for anybody of high status to encourage his people when the need arose.
He said that,” The fight to eradicate polio is a collective one, hence the need to appreciate all for their wonderful contributions.”