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The Minister of Health, Sir Molwyn Joseph, recently announced the launch of the National Cervical Cancer Elimination Programme in Antigua and Barbuda, emphasizing the government’s unwavering resolve to women’s healthcare.
Sir Molwyn described the initiative as an unprecedented move, highlighting that Antigua and Barbuda is the sole country in the region to implement such a program.
Cervical cancer is primarily caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV), a prevalent virus that poses a significant public health challenge.
However, with the right interventions, the disease is both preventable and treatable.
The Ministry of Health’s strategy is based on three essential pillars, namely, prevention through HPV vaccinations, early detection through regular and high-quality screening, and effective treatment for those diagnosed.
As part of the program, the Ministry of Health has appointed an oncology surgeon to undertake any surgeries that may become necessary.
The government has invested in the latest technologies and training of healthcare professionals to ensure high-quality screening and treatment, aligning with global best practices.
In 2018, Antigua and Barbuda became the first country in the Caribbean to access the HPV vaccines through the Pan American Health Organisation’s revolving fund, making it available to young girls and boys to reduce the future incidence of cervical cancer.
The minister also reported that the national guidelines for cervical cancer screening utilize HPV testing to identify pre-cancerous conditions early when they are most treatable.
Moreover, the strategy aligns with the World Health Organization’s policy to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer to less than four per one hundred thousand. The Minister of Health’s commitment to women’s healthcare is evident through the comprehensive and scientifically-backed approaches aimed at combating cervical cancer