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De Weever of St. Maarten supports e-petition for affordable cervical cancer screening


PHILIPSBURG – Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever on Friday signed the e-petition calling for an ‘increased Caribbean women’s access to affordable cervical cancer screening.’     The minister on Friday called on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the public to sign the cervical cancer e-petition online.    De Weever was one of more than 1,800 signatories to the petition when he supported it on Friday, in the presence of President of KeLaHa Projects Keoma Hamer.   “The agreed objective of the regional e-petition is to ‘increase Caribbean women’s access to affordable cervical cancer screening.’ I am calling on the nation to support this effort by visiting the following Web address and signing the petition in order to reach the target signature amount of 500,000,” De Weever said in a press release. Persons can log on the Web address at: www. endcervicalcancernow. org and follow the online instructions. The petition is a regional effort, which is also supported by St. Maarten. “Let’s join the region in making a difference for our Caribbean women and girls,” De Weever said. The e-petition was one of the recommendations of a workshop held in St. Maarten in February 2013.    Every year, approximately 31,700 women in Latin America and the Caribbean die from cervical cancer. The Caribbean is among the top four highest sub-regions in the world with respect to incidence of cervical cancer and has the highest burden of Human 3 Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever signing the online e-petition in the presence of Keoma Hamer. Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the Americas.   Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of death among Caribbean women with death rates several times higher than countries such as the USA. More than 95 per cent of cases of cervical cancer can be prevented.     The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), formed in 2008, is a live network of NGOs and civil society organizations from across the Caribbean Region with a remit to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs).    In March 2013, 20 Cancer NGOs representing 16 Caribbean countries, came together in an act of solidarity to make a bold statement against cervical cancer. It was at this meeting that the seed was planted for the first-ever Caribbean-wide Cervical Cancer e-petition.    The objectives of the petition were driven by the Cancer NGOs themselves, based on the identified collective priority needs around cervical cancer policy and programming across the Caribbean.  Collective Prevention Services (CPS) that falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is appealing to NGOs, civil society organizations and the public at large to sign-on to the e-petition. The e-petition was developed and approved by 20 Caribbean Cancer NGOs with the ultimate aim of having the support of a much wider cross-section of civil society and corporate partners with a vested interest in the health of women and girls. The petition targets Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government, as well associate members. Participating countries in this cause are: all CARICOM member countries and associate members, including the 16 represented at the workshop: Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Guadeloupe, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, St. Kitts & Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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