Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health has emphasized the need for early screening for diseases like cervical cancer and Hepatitis B to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment as well as vaccination against the same.
Atwine noted that these diseases are very costly to treat, (if at all they can be treated) yet they can be prevented.
Vaccination against the Human papillomavirus (HPV), she said, was put in place to safeguard women and girls against cervical cancer but “unfortunately, many girls of 10 to 13 years are still not vaccinated.”
She further noted that Cancer of the cervix is one of the leading causes of death among women, “yet we can prevent it. But you find that even when the vaccines are there, our girls of age 10 up to 13 are still not immunised. These are children who are likely to get cancer, especially if they have multiple partners.”
“It is a matter of testing and if you are negative, you get immunised with the 3 doses and you are sorted. But now we are seeing a number of people with Hepatitis B rising and more liver cancers seconded to Hepatitis B. When it gets to cancer, it is too late, much can’t be done,” Atwine said.
She highlighted the cycle of how the money spent on treating preventable diseases can instead be utilised to reinforce existing healthcare services and for individual development.
“We must reduce unnecessary expenses on diseases that we can prevent. We must invest in high technology medical interventions so that we attract resources. We must also invest in our human resource, doctors so that we have more cardiologists, neuro surgeons and all high end specialists,” Atwine warned.
However, she noted, this can only be done if money is saved on all diseases that can be prevented and in turn invested wisely, strategically and efficiently so that the Country and the population are empowered to develop.