UKZN Supports the Elimination of Cervical Cancer
Led by Professor Motshedisi Sebitloane, UKZN’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has pledged its support for the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer.
Ninety-nine percent of all cervical cancer cases are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections. A sexually transmitted infection, HPV causes no symptoms and clears within a year or two in most people, with no harmful effects. Persistent HPV infection can cause the cervix to progress to pre-cancer and eventually to cancer. While progress to cancer usually takes 10 years or more, HIV infection can accelerate it.
On 16 November, UKZN’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health braved the rainy weather to erect teal coloured balloon garlands on all campuses to raise awareness of cervical cancer. They also lit up the Memorial Tower Building on the Howard College campus in teal. On the Medical School campus, UKZN and Department of Health staff held up banners highlighting the key messages of the campaign.
‘We want people to understand that cervical cancer can be prevented. We encourage everyone to support this campaign and create awareness in their communities,’ said Sebitloane.
The 90-70-90 key goals of the WHO are that 90% of girls receive the HPV vaccine by the age of 15; that 70% of women are screened twice by the age of 45; and that 90% of women with pre-cancer and 90% with invasive cervical cancer receive treatment.
Words and photographs: Lihle Sosibo