First Lady Madame Filomena Katonivere says she is committed to raising awareness about cervical cancer and advocating for greater access to screening, early detection, and treatment.
While participating at the Spousal Programme held at the Marlborough House, Pall Mall Saint James in London in the weekend, Madame Filomena said cervical cancer is a preventable and treatable disease, yet it continues to claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of women every year.
“In 2020, the World Health Organisation estimated that there were 604,000 new cases of cervical cancer worldwide and 342,000 deaths from the disease.”
“These statistics are a sobering reminder of the urgent need to address the burden of cervical cancer on a global scale.”
She said cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women in Fiji, with an incidence rate of 27.6 per 100,000 women.
“It is devastating disease that not only affects women but their families, communities, and the nation as a whole.”
Madame Filomena further stated that it is a tragedy that so many women in Fiji are losing their lives to a disease that is preventable and treatable.
“Despite the challenges that we face, I am optimistic that we can make progress in addressing the burden of cervical cancer in Fiji. “
“We have already taken some important steps in recent years, but we still have a long way to go.”
She also stated that one of the most effective ways to prevent cervical cancer is through vaccination.
“Fiji has implemented a successful HPV vaccination program, which has reached over 90% of the target population.”
Madame Filomena urged the spouses that were present, as leaders in our community we need to invest in our healthcare system and expand access to screening services.
“This means recruiting and training more healthcare workers, improving the infrastructure of our health centers and clinics, and increasing the availability of screening tests and supplies.”