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China, UNFPA partnership on reducing maternal mortality supports training of 50 health providers on cervical cancer screening and management of cervical pre-cancers

Freetown, Sierra Leone, 22 April 2021- “Many of our women in Sierra Leone die of cervical cancer and they don’t even know that it is what they have,” said Dr. Francis Moses, Reproductive Health and Family Planning Programme Manager, Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS). “It has been quite some time that as a ministry we have been trying to set up a national cervical cancer screening programme,” added Dr. Moses, while reacting to a UNFPA supported competency-based training on cervical cancer screening and management of cervical pre-cancers.

Cervical cancer remains a major public health problem and ranks as the second most common cancer among women in Sierra Leone. The training by UNFPA, made possible with funding from the Government of the People’s Republic of China, aims at building the capacity of doctors, midwives and nurses in the area of cervical cancer screening and treatment to get a strong team of public health care workers with the needed skills. 

The United Nations Population Fund- UNFPA continues to work with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in improving women’s health especially in reaching women at high risk of maternal mortality and cervical cancer. Under the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF), the People’s Republic of China in 2018, committed $2 million to reduce maternal deaths and prevent and treat cervical cancer in Sierra Leone.

According to Dr. Moses, the training on cervical cancer screening and management of cervical pre-cancers is an opportunity for clinicians, doctors, and other health workers to learn how to screen people using very simple methods and easy to get materials, and be able to identify people who are at risk of cervical cancer.

Sister Edwina Conteh, Head of the Reproductive and Family Planning Unit of the King Harman Maternal and Child Hospital said “most women are knowledgeable about breast cancer which is easy to identify. However, for cervical cancer, it takes time for someone to know. The training should therefore, help in capacitating us so as to get more women and girls to come forward to be screened which will help in saving lives.”

The training has targeted fifty health providers drawn from the Directorate of Reproductive Health of the MOHS, five major hospitals and four community health centres. The first training slated from 19-28 April 2020 is a Training of Trainers (TOT) so as to get a core cadre of trainers to cascade trainings down to more providers to improve access to cervical cancer screening and treatment services.

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UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA reaches millions of women and young people in 155 countries and territories.

 

For more information, please contact: 

John Baimba Sesay, UNFPA Sierra Leone, Web and Media Analyst

Email: jsesay@unfpa.org Tel: +232 30953193/ +23279369395