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Global efforts result in improved quality of life and environmental protection

Global Goals & Global Society
Global efforts result in improved quality of life and environmental protection

Cervical cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer among women worldwide, with over 604,000 new cases diagnosed in 2020 and an estimated 342,000 women killed by the disease. The majority of these cases and deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, where access to preventive measures and treatment is often limited. Bangladesh is no exception, with cervical cancer now the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the country.

In an effort to address this public health crisis, a group of health workers in Bangladesh are working to reach women in some of the country’s most isolated places. These health workers, supported by Friendship, a charity that serves Bangladesh’s hardest-to-reach communities, are combating the stigma associated with cervical cancer and providing self-testing kits for human papillomavirus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer.

Access to preventive measures and treatment can be particularly difficult for those living in the shifting sand islands – known as chars – of the Brahmaputra and Jamuna rivers, where some of the most isolated communities in the world reside. In response, the Friendship organisation has been working to screen and prevent cervical cancer since it began operations in 2002. In 2021, it began implementing the Prevention and Screening Innovation Project Towards Elimination of Cervical Cancer (Prescrip-tec), an EU-funded project that focuses on reaching remote communities.

Despite the significant challenges they face, the health workers are making progress in raising awareness about cervical cancer and providing access to testing and treatment. One of the key strategies they employ is community mobilisation, where health workers hold health-awareness sessions in remote communities to educate women about cervical cancer and its prevention. The health workers are also equipped with MHealth, a mobile-based app that helps them gather and store patient data, and connect to a doctor whenever they need.

During these sessions, health workers provide basic medical services such as referrals, ante and postnatal care, nutrition, family planning, and hygiene awareness. The health workers also distribute self-testing kits and offer immediate testing for those who are interested. The completed tests are sent to a lab for further analysis, and only those who test positive for HPV are invited for further screening.

Since the Prescrip-tec project began in 2021, 121 women have tested positive for HPV; 140 patients have been treated with cryotherapy and thermal ablation, while 29 were referred for advanced treatment. While the health workers have made significant progress in combatting cervical cancer in these remote communities, many women still face significant social stigma that prevents them from seeking treatment. However, the health workers remain committed to raising awareness and providing access to preventive measures and treatment for as many women as possible.

Cervical cancer is a complex public health challenge that requires a multifaceted approach to address effectively. However, the work of the health workers in Bangladesh provides an example of how community mobilisation, targeted awareness campaigns, and access to preventive measures and treatment can make a significant difference in the fight against this deadly disease. As the global health community continues to confront this public health crisis, it is important to learn from the experiences of those who are working tirelessly to address the challenges and to support their efforts to improve the lives of women affected by cervical cancer.

The importance of sustainable development cannot be overstated. It is a critical approach to development that seeks to balance economic, social, and environmental considerations to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is essential for achieving the SDGs, as it provides a framework for ensuring that economic growth is inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible. By pursuing sustainable development, we can create a world that is more just, equitable, and resilient, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and live in harmony with nature. Ultimately, our vision for a global society should be one where sustainable development is not just an aspiration, but a reality, where people and the planet are at the center of our efforts to build a better world for all.

The vision of a global society is one where all individuals are able to live fulfilling and dignified lives, with equal access to basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and healthcare. This society is one where there is a commitment to preserving and protecting the environment for future generations, and where resources are shared equitably among all people, regardless of their background or circumstances. A global society values diversity and promotes inclusion, with respect for all cultures and traditions. It is a society where peace and justice prevail, where conflicts are resolved through dialogue and negotiation rather than violence and war.

In order to achieve this vision of a global society, there must be a concerted effort to work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 goals provide a framework for addressing the world's most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges, and they are designed to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs aim to end poverty and hunger, promote education and gender equality, ensure access to clean water and sanitation, reduce inequalities, and combat climate change, among other objectives.

Meeting the SDGs will require the cooperation of governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and individuals around the world. It will also require a willingness to make changes to the way we live and work, and a commitment to finding innovative solutions to complex problems. But by working together towards these shared goals, we can create a better world for ourselves and for future generations. The vision of a global society is not only possible, it is essential if we are to ensure a sustainable and just future for all.

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