News

Cervical Cancer Prevention Campaign Kicks Off in the Western Balkans

25 January 2011
Author: UNFPA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Although it is preventable and treatable, cervical cancer continues to be a major killer of women. Caused by sexually-acquired infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer claims the lives of more than 270,000 women every year, most of whom (85 per cent) live in developing countries. It is also a major cause of death for women in the Western Balkans.

In response, a social mobilization and fundraising campaign was launched recently in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans with the support of UNFPA.

The campaign was officially launched in December through the promotion of a song entitled “My Life is My Song” sung by four famous Western Balkan entertainers. Through the music and related campaign activities, UNFPA and its partners seek to draw public attention to cervical cancer among women in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Western Balkans as well as to introduce information on the means of preventing cervical cancer. The campaign includes a concert, private donations through a phone bank, an art auction and a roundtable of discussions and lectures. UNFPA-produced pamphlets on HPV and cervical cancer carry the key message: “HPV is preventable – mission possible.”

The concert will take place in Sarajevo on 26 January within the context of European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (23-29 January 2011). Each of the singers, including Nina Badric (Croatia), Karolina Goceva (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Alexandra Radovic (Serbia) and Maya Sar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) will be awarded with the Golden Medal for Humanity by the International League of Humanists for their support in raising awareness about cervical cancer.

“It is a critical time to raise awareness of the general public about the importance of cervical cancer prevention, since cervical cancer is one of the highest causes of mortality among women in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Faris Hadrovic, UNFPA Assistant Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the World Health Organization, the cervical cancer incidence rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 13.2 per 100,000.

The campaign will set the stage for establishing a cervical cancer prevention programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as mobilizing political support and donor interest in this important issue.Preventing cervical cancer requires regular screening and follow-up. A vaccine that can prevent HPV has also become available in recent years, but must be administered before girls become sexually active.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Population : 3.3 mil
Fertility rate
1.2
Maternal Mortality Ratio
10
Contraceptives prevalence rate
37
Population aged 10-24
17.1%

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