Cy’rus Bengo in Namibia

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that 700,000 persons die out of the 1.1 million new cancer cases recorded in Africa each year

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, made the revelation in a statement marking this year’s World Cancer Day themed ‘Close the Care Gap: Uniting Our Voices and Taking Action.’

She said Africa accounts for nearly 50%t of the global childhood cancer burden by 2050 with the current projections, explaining that “Childhood cancer incidents in sub-Saharan Africa was estimated at 56.3 per million population with significant data challenges.”

Moeti maintained that data estimates show a considerable increase in cancer mortality to nearly one million deaths per year by 2030, without urgent and bold interventions.

Her words, “We should recall that the most common cancers in adults include breast (16.5%), cervical (13.1%), prostate (9.4%), Colorectal (6%), and liver (4.6%) cancers, contributing to nearly half of the new cancer cases.”

Moeti noted that 12 countries in Africa had valid National Cancer Control Plans but that 11 additional countries were being supported by WHO in developing or updating their National Cancer Control Plans.

She explained that the support is aimed at aligning the plans to the global cancer initiatives coupled with the presence of governance structures at the government level to implement cancer plans.

She expressed delight that 51% of countries in Africa have steadily increased Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination national introduction.

WHO Regional Director for Africa noted that stumbling blocks remained the continent’s low availability of population-based cancer registries, limited health promotion, and inadequate access to primary prevention and early detection services.

She said the scarcity of diagnostic facilities increases delays in diagnosis and treatments despite the achievements made, emphasising the need to develop and update the national cancer control plans of each nation, provide sustainable financing and invest in cancer registration by the government.

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