Cervical cancer is a disease of inequality, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, says, as he tasks Commonwealth Ministers on increased investments in controlling the disease.

A statement by a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Boade Akinola, said the minister made the appeal during the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting, on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The minister called on the participants to designate cervical cancer as a major public health challenge and to intensify efforts to attract investment in vaccines access and treatment.

Professor Adewole cited an International Agency for Research on Cancer Report that revealed that almost nine of 10 or 87 per cent cervical cancer deaths occur in the less developed regions which includes Nigeria.

“If we do nothing, your excellences, the burden of cervical cancer will increase, by 2035 an increase of 72 per cent, far higher than the global increase of 43 per cent.

“We will also record near 50 per cent increase in mortality,” he warned.

Adewole pointed out that the report showed that the poorest countries would suffer more from cervical cancer.

“This is a systems failure and it occurs because the systems have failed, the people have failed and we have failed everybody,” he said.

The minister also showcased ongoing Cancer Control Reforms in Nigeria at another event themed “Cervical Cancer: A Non- Communicable Disease” we can overcome.

He said that the first thing he did was to offer free screenings to about 200,000 women across Nigeria.

He added that the main mission in 2017 was to screen women free of charge in Nigeria for cervical cancer.

According to Adewole, for the first time, the ministry was able to put cancer prevention in health budget, which is also significant.