Dr Yeneabeba Tilahun
The Ministry of Health (MoH) announced plan to subsidize chemotherapy drugs and also expand radio therapy centres at the Black Lion Hospital and five state hospitals this fiscal year.
Speaking at Cervical Cancer Prevention Review and Planning Meeting here yesterday, Ministry Communicable Diseases Team Leader Dr. Yeneabeba Tilahun said: “Chemotherapy drugs are very expensive making it difficult to reach the Ethiopian population. The budget for subsidy has already been allocated for 2006 fiscal year to ensure the availability of the drugs.”
She said that the Ministry in collaboration with partners like Pathfinder International has been working to combat cervical or reproductive cancer through providing diagnostics early screening service in 25 hospitals. She also indicated that the Ministry is planning to expand the service to 118 hospitals.
Pathfinder International Country Representative Dr. Mengistu Asnake on his part said that the organization is supporting prevention of cervical cancer programme primarily to stop the development of the disease to a serious stage. Accordingly, it is providing training, technical and material support for service providers.
He said that out of the 15,000 women tested for the disease over the past two and half years 10 per cent were found positive and close to 97 per cent of them received treatment.
Cervical cancer is caused by virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The first screening programme was launched in September 2010 only in five hospitals.
Cervical cancer forms in the interior lining of the cervix, the junction of the vagina and uterus. The development of cervical cancer is typically slow, and occurs over a period of years. The progression to cervical cancer begins with the development of precancerous changes in normal cells. Most of these changes, even if left untreated, will not progress to cancer.