Cervical cancer is a significant public health issue globally. In 2018, World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 570,000 new cases and 311,000 deaths. Low and middle-income nations have a disproportionately high cervical cancer burden.
In Africa, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women, with an estimated 119,000 new cases and 72,000 deaths each year. Uganda, in particular, has a high incidence of cervical cancer, with an estimated 3,577 new cases and 2,404 deaths in 2018.
Studies have shown that involving men in cervical cancer prevention can have a significant impact. In one study, men who received information about cervical cancer prevention were more likely to encourage their female partners to get screened. As a result, the number of women who underwent cervical cancer screenings increased significantly.
While there have been long-running initiatives in Uganda to prevent cervical cancer, there has not been much male participation. Recent studies, however, have emphasized the significance of including men in Uganda’s efforts to prevent cervical cancer.
The WHO has recognized the importance of involving men in cervical cancer prevention. It recommends that men be included in cervical cancer education and screening programs, as well as HPV vaccination campaigns.
One of the studies conducted in Uganda found that men who were provided with information about cervical cancer and its prevention were more likely to encourage their partners to get screened. Another study found that men who were informed about the benefits of HPV vaccination were more likely to support their partners to be vaccinated.
In response to these findings, several initiatives have been launched in Uganda to involve men in cervical cancer prevention. For example, the Ministry of Health has undertaken various health promotion campaigns, programs and activities aimed at increasing awareness of cervical cancer and its prevention among men and women.
The program includes community outreach activities, such as health talks and the distribution of educational materials. Additionally, some organizations have started to incorporate men in their cervical cancer prevention programs.
For instance, the Uganda Cervical Cancer Foundation has established a program that encourages men to accompany their partners to cervical cancer screening appointments. Men can promote safe sexual practices, such as using condoms during sexual intercourse. This helps to reduce the transmission of HPV from men to women.
Men can also support their female partners to get regular cervical cancer screenings, which can detect precancerous cells and enable early treatment. Relatedly, men parents or guardians can take their daughters or girls under their care for screening and or vaccination.
Another way men can help prevent cervical cancer is by encouraging the women in their lives to get vaccinated against HPV. Men can also get vaccinated themselves, as this helps to reduce the spread of the virus.
Additionally, men can spread awareness about the importance of cervical cancer prevention through their social networks and communities.
This information clearly shows a significant stake men have in prevention of cervical cancer which includes among others , encouraging regular screenings ; supporting safe sexual behavior and raising awareness of the value of cervical cancer prevention.
This effective and free intervention is a crucial step in the direction of a world in which cervical cancer is no longer a danger to women’s health.
A publication of Purpose Health Care Africa ,2023