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MoH and WHO launch TL’s Colposcopy Center to end cervical cancer

MoH and WHO launch TL’s Colposcopy Center to end cervical cancer

(Photo Tatoli/Egas Cristovao)

DILI, 02 may 2022 (TATOLI) – The Ministry of Health (MoH), together with the World Health Organization (WHO) launched Timor-Leste’s Colposcopy Center at the Guido Valadares National Hospital (HNGV) to fight and end cervical cancer in Timor-Leste.

Minister of Health, Odete Maria Freitas Belo said the launching of the Colposcopy Centre marked an important milestone for the country, especially for the women to combat cervical cancer in Timor-Leste.

“This Colposcopy Center will facilitate our Cervical Cancer Specialist to carry out rapid diagnostics for cervical cancer,” Minister Belo made the comments during the launching of the Colposcopy Center at the Guido Valadares National Hospital (HNGV), in Dili, on thursday.

Belo said the Colposcopy Center was important for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer.

At the same place, WHO Representative to Timor-Leste, Arvind Mathur said the launching of the Colposcopy Center was important to organize facilities to screen women for early detection of cervical cancer and to treat identified pre-cancerous lesions.

“Cervical cancer is preventable and curable if detected early and treated adequately. And yet, it is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death among women globally as well as in Timor-Leste,” Mathur said.

In Timor-Leste, it is estimated that annually there are 10 cases of cervical cancer will occur in 100.000 women and 6 women die per 100.000 women due to cervical cancer. Indicating that around 60% of diagnosed cases are advanced cases.

“I reaffirm WHO’s continuing technical assistance and our commitment to support MOH and the people of Timor-Leste to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem.”

In line with the WHO Global and Regional Strategic Framework on Elimination of Cervical Cancer, Mathur noted a number of strategies and actions to prevent, screen, and treat cervical cancer: 1) In the first quarter of 2023, Timor-Leste plans to introduce HPV Vaccination for 11 Years, Girls, as school-based program; 2) WHO is supporting Ministry of Health to develop cervical cancer screening and management strategy; 3) WHO is working to procure HPV DNA test kits to use for Cervical Cancer screening program. The Gene Xpert machines established for COVID-19 and TB can be used for HPV DNA testing. 4) Today we are launching this treatment center for pre-cancerous lesions; 5) WHO facilitated the training of 13 doctors from National and 5 Regional Referral Hospitals on cervical cancer screening, management of pre-cancerous lesions using colposcopy and thermal ablator; 6)             Initiated discussions with Dili Municipality to establish cervical cancer screening program linking with HNGV as treatment center as a pilot project; 7) WHO will support Ministry of Health to establish similar Screen and Treatment centers in 5 referral hospitals with all the necessary infrastructure, equipment, and training.

The launching of the Colposcopy Centre is not only a medical achievement but a major economic step as it would save large sums of money spent on overseas referrals for such cases.

Cervical cancer is cancer that’s found anywhere in the cervix. The cervix is the opening between the vagina and the womb (uterus). It’s part of the reproductive system and is sometimes called the neck of the womb. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by an infection from certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

Cervical cancer can often be prevented by having regular screenings with Pap tests and human papillomavirus (HPV) tests to find any precancers and treat them. It can also be prevented by receiving the HPV vaccine.

 

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Nelia Borges

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