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Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment commences in select NMOD/WRP-N Program sites

Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer that affects only women, globally. It is the number one cancer killer of women in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).  Approximately 100,000 women in SSA are diagnosed annually with cervical cancer and of these about 62% will die from the disease.  Women with HIV are four to five times more likely to develop persistent precancerous lesions and progress to cervical cancer, and often with more aggressive forms and with higher mortality. However this cancer is preventable, and with early detection, it is curable!

In November 2019, the Nigerian Ministry of Defence and the Walter Reed Program-Nigeria (NMOD/WRP-N) trained 35 health providers in the screening and treatment of cancer for women of reproductive age. The training which aimed at training doctors and nurses from 17 military health facilities across Nigeria, emphasized early detection as possible cure. Women who test positive have the opportunity to be treated on the same day using thermocoagulation. Obvious culprits will support their referrals to centers of cervical cancer treatment.

The NMOD/WRP-N takes the lead in offering this service free of charge to all women living positively with HIV. According to Dr. Yusuf Ahmed, the Senior Program Specialist, PMTCT, WRP-N, “the NMOD/WRP-N Program is sensitive to the plight of people living positively with HIV especially women and is happy to assist them overcome any form of health challenges they may encounter.” HIV positive women between the ages of 25 and 49 are susceptible to this disease, as such, “All women within this category should go for a cervical screening test in order to protect oneself as prevention remains the best cure”, he advised.

HIV has ceased being a death sentence in Nigeria through the intervention of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for HIV Relief (PEPFAR) by committing more than $5 billion U.S. dollars to the fight against HIV/AIDS. WRP-N in partnership with NMOD provides free HIV prevention and treatment services in 42 military health facilities across Nigeria.