UNFPA: Nearly 8000 women screened, treated for cervical cancer

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UNFPA Boss making her statement during the event

By Yusufu S Bangura

In a significant stride towards combating cervical cancer in Sierra Leone, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the People’s Republic of China, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, have achieved a commendable milestone.

According to Nadia Rasheed, the Country Representative of UNFPA in Sierra Leone, nearly 8000 women have been successfully screened and treated for cervical cancer over the past four years. This accomplishment surpasses the initial project target of 3000 women.

The announcement was made during a ceremony at Jui hospital, where equipment was handed over to nine health facilities as part of the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund Project.

Rasheed expressed her satisfaction with the collaborative efforts, emphasizing the ongoing partnership with the Ministry of Health and the People’s Republic of China.

She highlighted that the initiative, spanning three years from January 2020, aims to contribute to the elimination of preventable maternal and neonatal mortality while enhancing overall health outcomes for women.

The program focuses on improving access to quality maternal care, providing basic and comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care, and introducing cervical cancer screening and treatment services in public facilities for the first time.

Rasheed expressed gratitude to the government of China for its generous support and acknowledged the dedication of the Ministry of Health in prioritizing the well-being of women and girls.

Dr. Xia Yinyin, Health Cooperation Officer at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, reiterated China’s longstanding support to Sierra Leone across various sectors, including infrastructure, energy, and healthcare

The collaborative effort with UNFPA targeted nine health facilities, introducing cervical cancer screening and treatment services in the public sector across four districts.

The project also included training sessions for healthcare providers in Sierra Leone and advanced training opportunities in China.

Dr. Yinyin emphasized that the project extends support to Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) by providing a blood bank, consumables, and equipment to ensure the provision of safe blood services.

The leader of China’s 24th batch of medical team to Sierra Leone, Chen Yongjun, expressed excitement about the project’s potential to improve women’s health and cervical cancer prevention in Sierra Leone.

Despite challenges faced by the local medical staff, including shortages of electricity, water, and medical supplies, the China medical team has successfully trained Sierra Leonean healthcare providers, contributing to the enhancement of maternal and child health care.

In his remarks, Dr. Tom Sesay, representing the Ministry of Health, extended gratitude to UNFPA and the People’s Republic of China for their unwavering support to the health sector. He assured that the equipment provided would be utilized effectively to further strengthen the country’s healthcare capabilities. The handover of equipment is seen as a significant step towards establishing a robust national women’s health service in Sierra Leone.

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