Nigerian First Lady, Patience Jonathan, canvases reproductive health policies

Mrs. Jonathan advocated compulsory health education of adolescent and young adult females on factors associated with cervical cancer.

The First Lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan, in Windhoek, Namibia has called for the institutionalization of reproductive health policies in Africa.

Speaking at the just concluded eighth Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostrate Cancer, Mrs. Jonathan said Africa has to rise to implement sustainable and achievable reproductive health policies.

Stating that the these policies could help reduce the spread of cancer among Africans, the Nigerian First Lady encouraged women to participate in testing for early detection, community mobilization against cancer and sensitization about cancer. She encouraged feedback mechanism by participating actively in the review and evaluation of the scourge.

The 2014 African Cervical Cancer Multi-indicator and Mortality scorecard shows that prevalence of these health issues is dominant in Africa.

Also in an estimate of the World Cancer Digest, 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer around the world including breast, cervical and other cancers. The World Cancer Digest also states that urgent action is needed to ameliorate the sufferings of those affected and to improve national health systems across Africa.

Taking a cue from the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostrate Cancer in Africa themed Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention, Mrs. Jonathan said that girls between the ages of nine to 15 should be immunised with Human Papilloma Vaccine, HPV, and should have regular cancer screening using the affordable procedures of visual inspection with acetic acid and the pap smear.

She also advocated compulsory health education of adolescent and young adult females on factors associated with cervical cancer.

She said there is need for increased awareness and improved access to family planning, as well as the incorporation of cancer screening in family planning and maternal health services at an early age.

She also advocated pre and post counseling to prepare women for the outcome of cancer screening and the strengthening of strategic and legal framework for implementing a national cervical control policy to control the challenges of cancer in Nigeria in years ahead.

“(It is) our collective responsibility and priority; so we must all join hands to make the present and future lives of our generations safe and healthy,” Ms. Jonathan said.

She also said the Nigerian government has procured and distributed diagnostic and treatment equipment to 12 federal hospitals across the country.

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