Cervical cancer elimination campaign Africa
- Focus: Health & Food Security
- Location: Africa
- Start date: Ongoing, the aim is to fund the first country by Q4 2023.
- Club / Union : Soroptimist Club of Gulf Dubai (UAE)
- Number of women/girls this project reached/will reach: As much as possible
Goals of the project
The long-term partnership between Soroptimists, represented by the Africa Federation, and the UN Health4Life Fund aims to contribute to the elimination of cervical cancer across Africa.
Objectives of the project
The SIAF/Health4Life partnership will raise funds, raise awareness and advocate for improved access to vaccination, regular screening, and early treatment in line with the WHO Cervical Cancer Elimination Strategy approved by Member States in 2020. The strategy calls for the involvement of civil society partners and the meaningful engagement with and empowerment of affected populations. Soroptimists can play an important role over the coming years, as the voice of women on this life-threatening health concern that is uniquely their burden to bear.
Funds raised will be pooled with other contributions via the UN Health4Life Fund to finance sustainable domestic responses to cervical cancer through grants for collective, collaborative, and coordinated action involving all relevant stakeholders, including Soroptimists
Need project is addressing
In 2020, worldwide cervical cancer ranked as the 4th cancer affecting women – in terms of all three indicators: incidence (604,127 new cases) mortality rate (341,831 deaths), and 5-year prevalence (1,495,211 women). In November 2020, 194 countries committed to WHO’s Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer to change the course of this disease which takes the life of one woman every two minutes somewhere in the world. Prevention is key, yet in 2021, only 12% of girls were fully vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) worldwide.
We are on the cusp of a momentous moment in history – Soroptimists can stand up for women and rally others to this cause, or the situation can spiral out of control. If nothing is done, annual cervical cancer deaths are projected to rise globally to 400,000 by 2030 (an increase of 27% over just 12 years from 2018) with low and middle-income countries bearing nearly all the burden. But, if we make great strides and reach the targets of the global elimination strategy, some 14 million lives will have been saved by 2070, just 50 years after agreeing the global strategy.
While 9 out of 10 deaths today occur in a low- or middle-income country, Africa is the hardest hit continent. All but one of the top 20 countries worldwide with the highest burden of cervical cancer in 2018 were in Africa.
- Cervical cancer is the 2nd most commonly diagnosed cancer in Africa.
- Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in Africa.
- In Africa, 321 women hear the words ‘You have cervical cancer’ each day.
- Each year in Africa, some 77,000 women lose their lives needlessly to this invisible disease.
 International Agency for Research on Cancer, Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer Today
 WHO 2022 Social Media Toolkit Cervical Cancer Elimination Day of Action
 Page 15, WHO Global Cervical Cancer Elimination Strategy
 Building a future free of cervical cancer in Africa (who.int)
When we lose a woman, her family’s future is at risk, deepening a vicious cycle of poverty. This is about women’s rights; the right to healthcare and to access existing and proven prevention and treatment strategies that can keep them alive. Every single woman, everywhere, can be exposed to cervical cancer. Therefore, all Soroptimists can own this woman’s issue and join forces to make cervical cancer a thing of the past, starting in Africa. Soroptimists International Africa Federation has the potential to become a key civil society player for the United Nations’ global elimination strategy and bring about lasting change thanks to the support of Clubs across SIE.
Methods of implementing the project
Once funding is available, interventions will be designed in-country through a multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral process led by the national multisectoral committee on NCDs. Health4Life Fund seeks to empower countries and elevate local expertise in partnership with UN agencies which will provide technical expertise through the UN country teams. All grants will be submitted by the lead UN agency who is then charged with distribution of funds to all local partners. The first country grant will be awarded in sub-Saharan Africa after a solid grant development process supported by the UN Health4Life Fund Secretariat. All grants must be endorsed by H4LF’s Steering Committee, consisting of WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, and the governments of Kenya, Thailand, and Uruguay.
SIAF has a broad overarching commitment as a key partner that includes:
- Raising funds to be earmarked to the Health4Life Fund Pillar 4 for cervical cancer elimination in Africa. In addition to the financial resources that Soroptimists will contribute, H4LF will be mobilizing additional resources to complement these Funds.
- Advocating for cervical cancer screening of women and vaccination of girls. The advocacy messaging would be supported by the UN Joint Action Group and the Health4Life Fund Secretariat. The advocacy role can be implemented as and where appropriate in the countries where SIAF is present.
- Participating in country-level action, where relevant, by engaging with the government and UN partners for the grant proposal development and/or implementation (i.e., awareness-raising campaigns) ensuring the participation of women.
The overarching aim is to reach the global elimination strategy targets in all African countries by 2030:
- 90% of girls fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by 15 years of age
- 70% of women screened using a high-performance test by age 35 and again by 45
- 90% of women identified with cervical disease receive treatment (90% of women with pre-cancer treated and 90% of women with invasive cancer managed).
Achieving the 90-70-90 targets in low- and lower-middle-income countries within the SDG timeframe means:
- By 2030, over 250 000 healthy women will remain productive members of the workforce, contributing approximately $28 billion to the world’s economy
- By 2070, some 14 million lives will have been saved, 50 years after agreeing on the global strategy.
- By 2120, the incidence rate can fall by 97% with more than 74 million new cases and 62 million cervical cancer deaths averted over this coming century.
Evaluation – Follow-up
Monitoring and evaluation of projects will be conducted through a framework under development with the support of WHO’s Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact unit. The implementation and M&E tools will be guided by continuous impact measurement to enable real-time review and revision of project design to assure that the desired impact is achieved. The indicators for outputs, outcomes, and impact will follow existing WHO and UN system guidelines and will be aligned with country-level data systems to ensure feasibility and efficiency. Reporting will be done annually led by Ministries of Health with the support of UN country teams and the Health4Life Fund Secretariat. Overall Health4Life Fund reporting will be done bi-annually to the fund’s Steering Committee and a comprehensive mid-term review will be conducted. Reporting will also be done annually to the fund’s administrator, the UN Multi Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTFO). These reports will be provided to SIAF once issued and will be publicly available on the MPTFO Gateway ensuring full transparency.
As a whole, Health4Life Fund grants intend to catalyze domestic responses and increase domestic resources for NCDs and mental health. Its collaborative and coordinated approach will avoid overlap and direct funds efficiently to where they are needed. Country-led grants will be multi-year with an embedded exit strategy to ensure sustainability.
Soroptimist Clubs in Africa will be cooperating with UN agencies, through the UN Country Team, with government entities (i.e., Ministries of Health, Education, Social Services, etc), other NGOs, academic institutions, and relevant private sector companies in the design and implementation of country grants.
Thank you very much to the following Unions / Clubs for their collaboration to the project:
SI Witten Ruhr, Germany (SIE)
SI South Africa (SIAF)
The list of donations will be updated as soon as the first financial support for the project is obtained.