Rwanda calls for joint efforts to fight against cervical cancer

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KIGALI, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Rwandan Health Minister Diane Gashumba on Tuesday called on all African countries to make joint efforts to fight against cervical cancer on the continent.

There is a need for joint efforts from awareness to innovations in cervical cancer prevention and treatment, Gashumba said here at a side event on effective partnership for cervical cancer prevention of the ongoing International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa.

"It is important to work together and I believe by collaborating with country sisters we can make the cost of cancer treatment cheaper in our respective countries," Gashumba said.

The minister voiced hope that African countries can sit together and see how they can convince pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of cancer drugs.

African countries need to join hands to develop financing mechanisms and leverage technologies to strengthen the continent's health systems and infrastructure, Rwandan First Lady Jeannette Kagame said at the event.

Each year, 300,000 out of the 500,000 women affected by cervical cancer will die, and most of the deaths occur in low and middle income countries, said Marisol Touraine, chair of the Executive Board of global health initiative Unitaid.

"This is (an) unacceptable situation we have to face. It means that we have to increase our efforts to give access to treatment," she said at the event.

According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide. In Africa, it ranks the second and is far more lethal than elsewhere despite being a preventable disease. Enditem

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