NAT Group photo for UNFPA representatives-1611751760852
The Second Cervical Cancer Forum which kicked off virtually on Tuesday Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A total of 13,874 girls and women across the UAE have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus in 2019-2020, the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) announced in Sharjah today.

This helped provide an extensive 84 per cent coverage, Sawsan Jafar, chairperson of the FOCP board of director, said during Second Cervical Cancer Forum, which kicked off virtually today.

Addressing attendees from 11 countries, Abdulrahman Al Oweis, UAE Minister of Health and Prevention, said the country takes targeted actions to curb cancer.

“The UAE has in place national preventive strategies and health and awareness programmes to curb cancer, and promote a healthy lifestyle to all members of the community, in addition to early detection of cancers including cervical cancer to achieve the UAE Vision 2021,” Al Oweis said.

“Raising awareness about the importance of early screening for cervical cancer, and its vital role in minimising the death rate between females in the UAE is very important and we are focused on it,” he said.

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharja and founder and patron of Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP), said society must act together to raise awareness about cervical cancer, which kills about 7,500 women and girls in the Middle East and North Africa region every year. The two-day international forum focussed on accelerating action against HPV and cervical cancer, and is seeing the participation of 35 experts.

“The healthcare industry has been facing a challenging situation since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected patients severely. However, international efforts to combat the situation have risen to the occasion, along with a boost in awareness campaigns. FOCP continues to mobilise efforts, locally as well as globally, to develop sustainable programmes aimed at eliminating cancer,” Sheikha Jawaher said.