Mrs Kagame was speaking on Wednesday 17th November 2021 at the ceremony to mark the first year of Cervical Cancer Elimination movement.
It is on the same day last year, that the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Global strategy to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem, with a resolution passed by 194 countries.
It draw emphasis on vaccination against the disease, conducting medical checkups, and providing treatment for patients with Cervical Cancer with a view to reduce new infections by 40% and prevent 5 million deaths by 2050.
The hybrid ceremony brought together different participants including the Director-General of WHO,Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; First Lady Jeannette Kagame; and her counterparts of Burkina Faso, Sika Kaboré; Tshepo Motsepe Ramaphosa of South Africa, as well as Neo Jane Masisi of Botswana.
It was designed as a platform to concert efforts to establish stern policies to fight Cervical Cancer which takes lives of 300,000 women every year.
Mrs Kagame has stressed that early detection is the best way to deal with the cancer.
“We all know that early detection is by far, the most effective method, of waning the fatality of cervical cancer. Mass screenings are essential to our mission; therefore, they should be considered an extension, of the human right, to the highest attainable standard of health, conducive to living a life in dignity,” she said.
Since the introduction of cervical cancer screenings in Rwanda in 2015, over 170,000 women have been examined.
Mrs Kagame expressed optimism that new partnerships will have helped raise this number further by this time next year ‘and will speak to the force of our momentum’.
As the world is expending much effort to accelerate vaccine manufacturing, Mrs Kagame stressed that vaccines for Cervical Cancer should also be taken into account.
Rwanda has already surpassed, the target set by the W.H.O cervical cancer elimination strategy, of having 90% of girls under 15 fully vaccinated for Human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract.
“In fact, since 2011, our immunization of young girls aged 12 has consistently stood above 90%,” she said.
Rwanda is among other African countries which have reached 97% inoculations against HPV.
Research shows that it is necessary to inoculate young boys against the virus, in order to reduce transmission rates.
Mrs Kagame has stressed that developing nations need to be equipped, to double their efforts in the unrolling of vaccines.
“I invite industries, the private sector, researchers and development partners, to work with our governments, to reduce the price of HPV vaccines, HPV DNA tests and the adoption of innovative technologies, such as the W.H.O’s Artificial Intelligence visual examination tools,” she enthused.
“I hope for an African continent where, these vaccines are produced locally, with the support of our every ally, who I believe, shares our vision of Health autonomy for all nations,” added Mrs Kagame.
Mrs Kagame also emphasized that eliminating Cervical Cancer should be a collective responsibility.
“A goal of such scale, requires ambition from both genders. We know that this goal, cannot be attained with the burden fully resting on women. I again call on our male counterparts, to proactively join this fight.
This is true allyship in action: sharing our burden, to alleviate the load of women, as they strive for change, that will benefit our entire societies,” she said.