Ghana marks International HPV Awareness Day

Koforidua: The Eastern Regional Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has joined forces with the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) to mark International Papillomavirus Awareness Day (International HPV Awareness Day 2024) in Ghana.

In 2018, the International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS) developed the International HPV Awareness Day, which is marked annually on March 4 and serves as an opportunity to educate about Human Papillomavirus, its associated cancers, and prevention tips against the virus that have the tools to eliminate it.

Madam Ophelia Ankrah, NCCE Eastern Regional Director, and Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Executive Director, CDA Consult, stressed in a joint statement issued at Koforidua on Monday that women cancers were highly prevalent, specifically breast and cervical cancer.

Mr. Ameyibor noted that the global community was on the verge of a cervical cancer crisis if nothing was done and urged the international community to support efforts t
o deal with the problem.

He explained that cervical cancer, adjudged the most common cancer, was the leading cause of cancer mortality among women in developing countries, stressing that ‘it is unfortunate that public education on preventive methods is very low.’.

Mr. Ameyibor, who is a former Tema Regional Manager of Ghana News Agency, stressed the need for African governments, especially the government of Ghana, to bring cervical cancer prevention to the forefront of health policies.

He explained that CDA Consult had embarked on the Change Paradigm Advocacy for free cervical cancer vaccination and scaling up prevention, detection, and treatment towards the elimination of cervical cancer in Ghana.

He said the five projects were anchored on responsive communication as a weapon for attitudinal change, advocacy for mass voluntary vaccination, and encouragement for a healthy lifestyle.

He said it also sought to achieve maximum impact by demystifying the myth surrounding cervical cancer vaccination, screenin
g, and treatment.

‘The CDA Consult Change Paradigm Advocacy also hinges on both primary prevention (focused on people who are non-reactive) as well as prevention, detection, and treatment in the country,’ he noted.

He said the CDA Consult Free Cervical Cancer Change Paradigm Advocacy was also targeted at mobilising funding investment in HPV vaccine programming in low- and lower middle-income communities in Ghana.

Mr. Ameyibor said the relentless advocacy campaign also sought to draw global attention to the slow pace of achieving the 2030 target and the need for scaling up the process.

Madam Ankrah noted the need for concerted efforts to educate the public on cervical cancer prevention and expressed concern that, even though cervical cancer was preventable, more than 266,000 women die of it each year.

She lamented that about 87 percent of the deaths were happening in less developed countries, including Ghana.

The NCCE Eastern Regional Director, therefore, commended CDA Consult for embarking on and rallyi
ng stakeholders towards a relentless national advocacy campaign towards cervical cancer prevention in the country.

The International HPV Awareness Day (IHAD) is a global observance that focuses on raising awareness about HPV, a group of related viruses that can lead to various types of cancer and other health concerns.

The day underscores the importance of prevention, early detection, and treatment of HPV-related conditions, emphasising the role of vaccination in reducing the spread of the virus.

Source: Ghana News Agency