First Lady and President of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV & AIDS, Lordina Mahama, says the 10th Anniversary of the “Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa Conference” held annually, is worth celebrating since it has yielded the desired results. Adding that it has been a decade of progress and great success.
Mrs. Mahama, believes the legacies of their predecessors and their own accomplishments, will be a benefit to many more generations to come.
The First Lady made this in a statement to the 10th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa Conference (SCCA), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The conference which was under the theme: A Decade of Accomplishment – Our Enduring Legacies brought together African First Ladies and dignitaries from across Africa and beyond to share their successes, experience and discuss the way forward in eliminating cervical,breast and prostrate cancers from Africa.
Causing more than 8.2 million deaths annually cancer is one of the top killer diseases of our time. The estimated number of 14 million plus new cases occurring every year is expected to increase by 70 percent in the next two decades.
With Cervical and breast cancers being the leading causes of cancer related deaths in Africa, the burden of the disease in women is much worse. Gender inequalities, weak economic power of women and absence of screening and early diagnoses services contribute to the increasing number of preventable deaths of women.
The Stop Cervical Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa Conference is one response among many to this alarming situation. The conference is an annual event dedicated to contributing to the efforts of ending Cervical Breast & Prostate Cancer in Africa.
She congratulated Princess Nicky who is the foremost cervical, breast and prostate cancer advocate in Africa for being steadfast in pushing through her vision.
“And I thank all of those who have been part of this great story. Today, millions of women, children and men in Africa, have access to cancer information, prevention, treatment and care services because of this excellent knowledge and experience sharing platform” she stated.
The First Lady noted that through the annual Conference and Forum, African First Ladies have integrated issues of cervical, breast and other cancers into their advocacy activities.
” The Strategic Plan for the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS in Africa (OAFLA), for 2014 to 2018, prioritizes cervical cancer as a standalone programme goal; Goal 3. Consequently, OAFLA members continue to advocate for the prevention and early diagnosis of cervical and breast cancers, especially among women and girls through an integrated, rights-based approach to assuring their Sexual and Reproductive Health” she disclosed.
According to the OAFLA president, she and her colleagues continue to galvanize action towards health systems strengthening, to bring services closer to our people, to dispel myths and to eliminate cancer-related stigma adding that through country-specific interventions, many, many lives have been saved.
On behalf of OAFLA, Mrs. Mahama, welcomed the Political Declaration adopted at the 2016 United Nations High Level Meeting on ending AIDS, which among others, called for sustainability of HIV interventions which are mutually reinforcing, and integrated with national health systems.
Ghana’s First Lady shared her successes with her colleagues on her efforts to eliminate HIV, Breast and cervical cancer.
She indicated that since 2013, she have worked with the Ghana AIDS Commission to roll out the “Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Keeping Mothers Alive Campaign” in Ghana.
This she noted aims to bring services to the doorsteps of communities using an integrated health approach.
“We have successfully brought free integrated HIV, SRH, breast and cervical cancer services to seven (7) out of ten (10) regions in Ghana. During such health outreaches, I engage directly with the leaders, members and survivors in the communities to advocate for male involvement and to dispel myths and beliefs which lead to late presentation” she noted.
She was hopeful to see the day in Ghana when every child is immunized for HPV. ” I see the day when breast, cervical and prostate cancer screening are routinely offered, where all patients are diagnosed early and receive adequate and timely treatment, care and rehabilitation. I see that day” she said.
The three-day conference was organized under the patronage of H.E Roman Tesfaye Abneh First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in partnership with Princess Nikky Cancer Foundation. The conference saw the handing over of the chairperson from Kenyan’s first lady, Margaret Keyantta to the Ethiopian First Lady, Roman Tesfaye.