By Chioma Obinna

To commemorate this year’s International women’s day, mPharma, a technology-driven healthcare company has launched an initiative targeting to screen and treat 10,000 women for cervical cancer.

The campaign tagged: “Ten Thousand Women Initiative (TTWI), will focus on improving public awareness, offer free HPV DNA screening and access to vaccines for the Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) related cancers and diseases.

The company seeks to re-imagine the prevention, screening & treatment of cervical cancer across Africa.

mPharma is also partnering with key industry stakeholders including MSD, Synlab, Arrive alive, Lily hospitals among others to drive the initiative.  The joint effort will prove effective in the fight against cervical cancer.

The 10,000 Women Campaign launched in Ghana in September last year has already provided free screenings to over 3,000 women across Ghana.

Speaking at the launch, the Vice President, Diagnostics at mPharma, Johnnie Allotey, said the idea was to have a potential blueprint for policymakers to see what it will look like to have a national screening programme as well as a national vaccination programme which will greatly impact women who are the doyens of the African society.

Also speaking at the launch, Professor of Obstetrics and gynaecology, CMUL/LUTH, Professor Rose Anorlu, noted that the initiative targeting to treat 6,000 in Ghana and 4,000 in Nigeria will help strengthen the fight against the disease. “I am happy because we have HPV screening which is the in-thing now and a lot of countries are using it at their primary screenings. It’s also a way of doing point of care. The patients or women will come, they get screened and they also get treatment at the same time if possible.

Also, the Team lead Histopathology at Synlab, Ezinne Obi Okpala described the 10,000 initiative by mPharma as an educative programme.  

On his part, Prof Oliver Ezechi disclosed that over 40 million Nigerians are at risk of cervical cancer while 25 per cent are carriers of the HPV virus.    He said the campaign will go a long way in reducing the infection among women.

Also in attendance, Laboratory Director at Arrive Alive diagnostics and imaging, Dr Maame Antwi Gyamfi expressed happiness as a partner laboratory for the 10,000 HPV screening initiative. “This is a great initiative in view of the impact of cervical cancer on women in Africa and its prevalence in Nigeria. So we can’t wait to increase coverage, we can’t wait to make an impact in the diagnostics and treatment of cervical cancer in Nigeria.”

Speaking at the event Tolu Ogundemuren Global Marketing Manager Primary Health Services described the campaign as the company’s most significant commitment to women’s health. He said:  “The campaign aims to normalise screening for HPV, the most common risk factor being Cervical Cancer, as well as offer women access to affordable treatment and vaccination options. Cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in many African countries, including Nigeria. 

Sadly, diagnosis and treatment remain out of reach – medically and financially – for most women. When available, they are often accessed too late when the women are in an advanced stage of disease, resulting in emotional distress and lost hope for the women and their families. With this campaign, we can help re-imagine this journey, lighten the burden and help ease the path for millions of people across Africa.” 

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