Fiji sets regional benchmark following launch of Cervical Cancer Screening Policy.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has set a regional benchmark in the fight against cervical cancer through the launch of a comprehensive Cervical Cancer Screening Policy at the Tanoa Plaza today in Suva.
Developed with support from the Australian-funded Fiji Health Sector Support Program (FHSSP) and Family Planning New South Wales, the policy aims to provide routine cervical screening every three years for women aged 30-49 years. The target is to screen 80% of women in this age group over a three-year period.
While launching the policy, the Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate highlighted, ?Cervical cancer has been the most common cancer in Fiji over the past decade with approximately 161 new cases annually and an estimated incidence of 37.8 per 100,000 women.?
?The Ministry?s interventions to address the issue over the past 20 years has culminated in the development of a comprehensive and integrated approach to preventing, screening and treating cervical cancer. The majority of these deaths can be prevented through universal access to a comprehensive cervical cancer prevention and control program, which has the potential to reach all girls through the HPV vaccination and all women who are at risk with screening and treatment,? said Minister Usamate.
The Minister added, ?The Ministry is appreciative of the support from the Australian Government for the development of the Cervical Cancer Policy, provision of equipment, capacity building and training. These efforts are crucial to ensuring the success of our cervical cancer screening program.?
?The Australian Government warmly congratulates the MoHMS on the launching of this policy and is proud to have had a part in its development,? stated the Australian High Commission?s Counsellor for Development Cooperation, Ms Joanne Choe. ?This is the first national cervical cancer screening policy in the Pacific, which sets out a comprehensive prevention, screening and control program.?
?As part of our commitment to health in Fiji, the Australian Government is pleased to be able to support policy development and equipment that will help address one of the biggest health challenges facing women in Fiji,? said Ms Choe.