Health Ministry Reinforces Awareness on Early Detection of Cancer In Liberia

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Congo Town – The Ministry of Health has described cancer as a “National Concern,” while calling for joint efforts in order to curb the illness.

Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah told a gathering at an event in observance of World Cancer Day held at the week end that the illness has no limitation; therefore, having knowledge on its early detection is essential.

Dr. Jallah said being knowledgeable of early signs and symptoms of Cancer and seeking medical attention right away will help save many lives.

“Cancer is of concern because it has no respect for any person or position and the more we educate people about Cancer, the better chances we have to save lives,” Dr. Jallah said.

She said if people get adequately informed about cancer and how it can be controlled, more lives will be saved.

The Health Minister stressed that awareness is equally important and should target market places, rural communities and other hard-to-reach areas.

She expressed concern that the fight against cancer receives limited support due to perceptions that the awareness process on the illness is expensive.

World Health Organization’s Regional Director Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said in a dispatch that the year 2020 marks the midpoint of the “I am and I will” three-year campaign.

He called on individuals, groups and communities to take action against cancer in preventing millions of premature deaths.

“Globally, one in five people are diagnosed of cancer before age 75 and incidents continue to rise as life expectancy increases and patterns of disease changed,” said Dr. Moeti at a gathering that brought together health experts and stakeholders of the health sector.

According to him, the number of cancer cases in Africa is expected to increase to two million in the year 2040.

The WHO Regional Director added that the prevalent Cancer ranges from cervical, liver, breast and prostate, which he said cause one-third of deaths in Africa.

These factors, he said, add to the limited access to screening and treatment in many countries, particularly for women, children and the elderly, and have motivated the WHO to work with governments to improve the availability to medicine and technology.

He added that the WHO is building the capacities of health workers and communities to prevent cancer and at the same time care for patients.

“Governments are integrating cancer intervention into national strategies, health benefit package and social insurance scheme as part of efforts to achieve universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals target 3.4 and reducing premature mortality of non-communicable diseases,” he said.

However, according to him, some level of progress has been made in some countries like Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius Rwanda and Seychelles by expanding their coverage and range of services available for cancer prevention. 

At the same time, he said 45 countries have ratified the WHO framework convention on tobacco control.

Seychelles and South Africa have increased taxes on sugar-sweetening beverages, aimed at factors associated causing cancer.

Meanwhile, Dr. Moeti is calling on everyone to seek early screening, treatment and care as a means of overcoming stigmatization surrounding cancer.

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