- With the support of the UfM, the project “Women´s Right to Health” (WoRTH) aims at reducing the incidence and mortality of women’s malignancies (breast and cervical) in Albania, Montenegro and Morocco
- Among women, breast cancer accounts up to a third of all cancers, followed by cervical and colorectal cancer. General cancer rates are expected to double by 2030, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
4 February 2020, Barcelona. The 4th of February marks the International World Cancer Day, highlighting the need to increase awareness on cancer and encouraging prevention and early screenings. Only in the Euro-Mediterranean region, approximately 190,000 women die every year because of cervical and breast cancer.
With the support of the UfM, the project “Women´s Right to Health” (WoRTH) aims at reducing the incidence and mortality of women’s malignancies (breast and cervical) in Albania, Montenegro and Morocco, through the design and implementation of a screening strategy. The project is promoted by the National Health System Reference Centre for Epidemiology and Prevention of Cancer in Piedmont (CPO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In the framework of the project, over 45,000 disadvantaged women are expected to be tested for cervical and breast cancer in addition to the training of over 300 health professionals and other relevant stakeholders involved in the early detection/screening programs. The WHO has indicated that cancer rates, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, are expected to double by 2030. Furthermore, for women in 2012, breast cancer accounted up to a third of all cancers, followed by cervical and colorectal cancer.
The UfM works, in coordination with its Member States and in partnership with health organisations, to promote initiatives that seek to raise awareness and to provide greater services in pursuit of reducing cancer related mortality rates especially through early detection measures amongst women. UfM Deputy Secretary General, Marisa Farrugia, said: “By advocating and advancing on our framework policies translated into tangible projects such as WoRTH, we can help to raise health awareness, and overcome social norms or barriers. Early detection, screening, diagnosis and appropriate treatment can beat cancer and save lives.”
The first phase of the WoRTH project, also supported by the French National Cancer Institute, was implemented between 2016 and 2019 and aimed at setting up a pilot initiative for cervical and breast cancer early detection based on a gender sensitive approach. To achieve that, a study has been conducted in each targeted country, with the objective to assess the most appropriate recruitment strategy for cancer early detection, and the attitudes and behaviour of women towards cancer early detection. Preliminary results of the study suggest a high acceptance of the screening test overall with differences between the three countries, and confirm as most effective strategy the face-to-face approach with important needs identified in rural areas. Lack of phone numbers availability and unwillingness to be contacted by phone for health issues emerged as main obstacles. Other data of the study are currently being analysed and the results are expected to be available soon. The study’s data can be considered as baseline parameters for the implementation of the next activities within the WoRTH project.
In addition to the WoRTH project, the UfM will be signing a new agreement with the World Health Organization in the field of women’s access to health. The UfM believes that by warranting equal access to health for all will contribute to societies’ inclusive growth and development and will lead to regional and global prosperity.
UfM Policy Framework on Access to Health:
- The Cairo 2017 UfM Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society, https://ufmsecretariat.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/FINAL-ADOPTED-Declaration-on-Strengthening-Women-in-Society.pdf
- The Valletta 2017 UfM Ministerial Declaration on the Water Agenda, https://ufmsecretariat.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Ministerial-Declaration-on-Water_Union-for-the-Mediterranean.pdf
- The Athens 2014 UfM Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Climate Change, https://ufmsecretariat.org//wp-content/uploads/2014/05/20140515_UfM_declaration_FINAL_compromiseeditorial-changes.pdf
- The “Women’s Right to Health – WoRTH” Project: