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State hospitals prepare to begin screen-and-treat for cervical cancer

State hospitals prepare to begin screen-and-treat for cervical cancer

Former American President, George W. Bush and his wife arrived in Namibia last weekend to cement agreements with local health service providers for extended support under the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.

At a meeting in Windhoek, leaders of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon signed an agreement this week to collaborate on programmes to prevent cervical cancer.

Former President Bush and Mrs Bush visited Windhoek Central Hospital where Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, which is affiliated with the George W. Bush Institute, will begin services in the next few months. The former president was the guest of First Lady, Madame Monica Geingos.

Sara Owen from the Bush Presidential Center said the trip, President Bush’s seventh to Africa since leaving office, demonstrates President and Mrs. Bush’s continued commitment to the people of Africa through the work of the George W. Bush Institute’s global leadership programmes.

HIV positive women are up to five times more likely to develop cervical cancer, so routine screening and treatment are essential for this demographic. Screening and treatment for cervical pre-cancer are a cost-effective intervention, costing less than US$25 per patient.

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon work with countries to integrate cervical cancer programming into their HIV/AIDS grants from the Global Fund, building on efforts by national governments and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

“As we continue to accelerate the end of AIDS, TB and malaria, it is essential that we tackle diseases that are killing the people whose lives we could otherwise save,” said Marijke Wijnroks, Chief of Staff of the Global Fund. “Collaborating with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon makes sense because they are already succeeding at saving the lives of women and girls from cancer in low-resource settings. Together we can leverage our expertise and resources to tackle the increased risk and negative impact of cervical cancer for women living with HIV/AIDS.”

Screen-and-treat enables medical staff to screen women for pre-cancerous lesions and treat them during the same visit. Cervical cancer is one of the most common women’s cancers in Namibia and throughout sub-Saharan Africa but also one of the most preventable. Cervical cancer is also five times more common among women living with HIV than women who are not infected.

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