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Australian government and Cancer Council lead WHO commitment to eliminate cervical cancer – a statement from Todd Harper

Wednesday 12 August, 2020

World Health Organisation (WHO) Member States today resolved to adopt a strategy for the global elimination of cervical cancer and implementation of national cervical cancer control plans. The strategy is designed to advance women’s health, strengthen worldwide health systems and address inequities between and within countries, placing countries on the road to eliminating cervical cancer.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper said:

“It is fantastic to see the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem being prioritised by WHO Member States; we are delighted to play a part in this commitment to advancing women’s health and addressing global inequities.”

“Cancer Council played a key role in the development of WHO’s elimination strategy. Research performed by Cancer Council NSW with WHO and other collaborators found that more than 62 million lives could be saved over the next century if 78 low- and middle- income countries were to rapidly scale up cervical cancer vaccination, screening and cancer treatment services.”

“Here in Victoria, we could be the first jurisdiction in Australia to eliminate cervical cancer, possibly by 2030, given we have one of the lowest cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates in Australia. To make elimination in Victoria possible, we need to focus on the inequities that exist in our society and prioritise communities that have lower screening rates.”

“Together with our partners at VCS Foundation, Cancer Council Victoria has played a long-standing role in encouraging women to take part in cervical screening through its state government funded PapScreen Victoria program. This included a variety of mass media campaigns and community engagement work, with particular emphasis on reaching unscreened and under-screened populations.”