NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville has thrown his ministry’s support behind the initiative to eliminate Cervical Cancer in The Bahamas by 2030, in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This initiative that is to evolve into a nation-wide campaign, is being championed by Mrs. Ann Marie Davis of the Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister.
On Wednesday, July 20, 2022 Mrs. Davis paid a Courtesy Call on Dr. Darville at his ministry on Meeting Street. She was accompanied by Dr. Ruth Kattumuri, Senior Director of Economic, Youth and Sustainable Development Directorate, Commonwealth Secretariat in the UK.
The push to eliminate Cervical Cancer is part and parcel of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which is to “ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages”.
In this vein, the Spouses of the CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN) of which Mrs. Davis is a member, have begun to discuss how to accelerate actions for cervical cancer elimination by 2030.
Mrs. Davis recently hosted a SCLAN meeting, virtually, during which CARICOM, and Commonwealth member-states pledged to champion this cause. She added that The Bahamas would propose an “aggressive plan” towards this end.
Dr. Darville thanked her for agreeing to take the lead, and pledged the support of his team to disseminate the messages nation-wide. Present were: Permanent Secretary Colin Higgs; Dr. Philip Swann, Acting Chief Medical Officer; Dr. Cherita Moxey; and Dr. Bridgette Rolle.
Global medical experts have diagnosed cervical cancer as a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, play a role in causing most cervical cancers. Individuals can reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer by having screening tests and receiving a vaccine that protects against HPV infection. The target is young people from the age of 10 to get the vaccine against the virus.
The SDG 3 also aims to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio; end preventable deaths of newborns and children; end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases; reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases; strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse; halve the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents; ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services; achieve universal health coverage; and reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and pollution.
Dr. Darville said that his ministry is also focused on dealing with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), HIV/AIDS, Climate Change, and Mental Health Wellness — the latter of which he tabled the Mental Health Bill, 2022 in the House of Assembly on July 20. It is to replace the Mental Heath Act, 1969.