Ethiopia growing burden of cancer by launching a five-year cancer control strategy on 26 October 2015 in Adama Town

Every year cancer claims thousands of lives in Ethiopia. The country responds to the growing burden of cancer by launching a five-year cancer control strategy on 26 October 2015 in Adama Town. The Strategy is said to avert the health and economic impact of cancer by focusing mainly on prevention, and early detection.

“Non-communicable diseases like cancer are today’s public health problems, and if we don’t address them they will be a catastrophic public health challenge for tomorrow,” said Dr. Pierre M’Pele-Kilebou, WHO Representative in Ethiopia, in his keynote address at the launch. He also stated that WHO Ethiopia welcomes the national strategy as it improves the health of people living with cancer and appreciated the efforts made by the Office of the First Lady and the Federal Ministry of Health towards its development.

The Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia estimates that there are over 60,000 new cancer cases and around 44,000 cancer deaths every year as patients often visit hospitals with advanced stages of cancer.

H.E. Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, First Lady of Ethiopia remarked that despite thousands of cancer deaths, the country doesn’t have a single dedicated cancer treatment center. “Even though we are taking various policy and structural measures, including the new cancer control strategy, we have a long way to go for our efforts to match the burden of cancer,” she added.

The Strategy will rely on the existing primary health care service delivery system. According to Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Minister of Health Ethiopia, the Cancer Control Strategy primarily focuses on extensive prevention work having the health extension program, health development army and the expanded health centers as pillars.

The strategy aims to reduce the number of people who develop cancer and die, and ensure a better quality of life for those living with the disease by controlling risk factors, early detection and offering good care to those with the disease. The national cancer control strategy was developed with the participation of various stakeholders. These partners are urged to also provide strong support to the implementation of the strategy.

Source: WHO-Africa
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