Bugesera September 7, 2021, RBC in collaboration with BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) and GardaWorld launches one-month campaign for Cervical and breast cancers screening in Bugesera district at Ntarama heath centre.
According to Dr. Uwinkindi Francois, the Division Manager of NCDs, women who will be found to have pre-cancerous lesions, will be treated at the health centers. Women with advanced lesions or with invasive cervical cancer will be referred to Nyamata district hospital and teaching hospitals for management respectively.
Rwanda is among high burden cervical cancer countries where cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer in adults with an incidence rate of 28.2/100,000 women (1229 new cases) and a mortality rate of 20.1/100,000 (829 deaths) in 2020 (WHO estimates)
Dr. Uwinkindi Francois, the Division Manager of NCDs in RBC stressed the need for early screening of Cervical cancer.
“Cervical cancer is a dreadful disease, it kills women, our mothers, wives, sisters, cousins. But, together if we join our efforts we can eliminate it. With education, early detection, and availability of treatment we can save thousands of Rwandan lives each year. We thank GardaWorld, our key implementation partner, as well and Johnson & Johnson and Faber Daeufer & Itrato for supporting this important health initiative.” Said Dr. Uwinkindi.
Despite these challenges, the Rwandan government has made significant progress in availing cervical cancer screening services at primary health care level to reduce the burden of cancer in the country and aims to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) cervical cancer screening targets of 70% coverage of the eligible population by 2030.
In 2011, the government initiated a near-universal vaccination campaign against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. Rwanda has reached more than 97% of the eligible young girls aged 12 years for the vaccination.
The program distinguished Rwanda as the first African country to embark on a prevention campaign of this caliber. Along with the vaccination program, Rwanda is poised to scale up quickly cervical cancer screening services in all health facilities (services now available in almost 50% of all health facilities) which will go together with the upgrading of treatment services as included in the 5-year National Strategic Plan for Prevention and Control of cancers.
Justine Kuteesa representing BIO Ventures for Global Health (a nonprofit organization that strategically develops and manages programs across the for-profit and non-profit sectors to improve cancer patient care in Africa) at the launching event, praised Rwanda for good partnership with the Ministry of Health through Rwanda Biomedical Centre in addressing the burden of cervical cancer.
“We have mobilized resources such as equipment, consumables, we also worked with Garda World to ensure transportation of samples for testing. We express our sincere gratitude to the Government of Rwanda for this opportunity to be part of this noble cause of screening, and treating women and also educating the community about cervical cancer.” Said Kuteesa.
The campaign of cervical and breast cancers screening in Bugesera targets women aged 30 to 49 who are encouraged to go for screening in the nearest health centres. The cervical cancer and breast cancers screening campaign has so far reached 15 districts and the remained ones will be reached by the end of 2022.
The BIO Ventures for Global Health that will also provide support in 4 additional districts including Gakenke, Rusizi, Kicukiro and Ngoma