The Public Health Initiative of Liberia (PHIL), a not-for-profit organization, has launched a cervical (uterus) cancer program for women to raise public awareness on the need for cervical cancer screening.
The program which was launched under the theme: “Changing the Cervical Cancer Narrative in Liberia,” brought together several private and public health practitioners including the Liberia Cancer Society, Last Mile Health and the National AIDS Commission as well as the executive director of Kid’s Educational Engagement Program (KEEP).
Cervical cancer, according to its definition, is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
The Executive Director of PHIL, Ms. Joyce Laykah Kilikpo, said the initiative is intended to promote access to equitable and efficient screening and treatment services across the country.
Ms. Kilikpo, speaking on January 29, 2020, noted that cervical cancer accounts for more than 40% of all women’s cancer and about two-thirds of cancer deaths, as it is the most common cancers in Liberian women aged 15-44 according to www.hpvcentre.net.
She said screening is crucial to early diagnosis and prevention of cervical cancer and, as such, PHIL is advocating for the political will and commitment in the fight against cervical cancer.
Ms. Kilikpo said it is against this backdrop that PHIL, as a local non-governmental organization in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MOH), is working to promote and enhance the quality of health care delivery in Liberia.
She said: “Many women with cervical cancer don’t realize they have the disease early on, because it usually doesn’t cause symptoms until the late stages. When symptoms do appear, they’re easily mistaken for common conditions like menstrual periods and urinary tract infections.”
She disclosed that PHIL has also embark on a cost-effective cervical cancer screening program using the “See and Treat approach” to prevent cervical cancer among women in the country.
Ms. Kilikpo said she wants to ensure a Liberia where all women have access to timely cervical cancer prevention, early detection and treatment services.