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Sharjah/United Arab Emirates, 10 November 2020 - UNFPA Arab States Regional Office and the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) UAE and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU aims to advance awareness raising; combined advocacy efforts; and evidence generation and knowledge sharing on reproductive health, women empowerment and non-communicable diseases, with a focus on reproductive health cancers in particular, cervical cancer. 

Dr. Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA Regional Director, and Ms. Sawsan Jafar, Chairperson- FOCP
Board of Directors, sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

Cervical cancer is the cause for at least 7,600 deaths among women annually in the Middle East and North Africa, and often goes under reported. However, cervical cancer can be prevented and controlled through a comprehensive approach that includes, awareness raising, vaccination, effective screening, early diagnosis and adequate treatment programmes. 

A decade ago, the UAE started its journey to reduce HPV-related diseases with the initial roll-out of HPV vaccines in schools in Abu Dhabi. Currently, the UAE is leading in the Arab region with cervical cancer prevention programme, as in 2018 HPV-vaccines were rolled-out country-wide in an effort to protect more women and girls from this preventable disease.

“UNFPA is well positioned to support national governments with the development or update of their cervical cancer prevention and control programmes, taking into consideration the public health importance of cervical cancer and the challenges and opportunities presented by rapidly developing technologies and up-to-date scientific evidence” - Dr. Luay Sahbaneh, Director, UNFPA Arab States Region.

The signing of the MoU comes at an opportune moment, as UNFPA and FoCP are preparing for the second forum on cervical cancer in January 2021, under the title of “Accelerating Action on HPV and Cervical Cancer”. It will be a follow up to the first forum organized by FoCP in collaboration with UNFPA and the MENA Coalition for HPV Elimination, in January 2019 in Sharjah, that resulted in announcing the “Sharjah Declaration on Cervical Cancer 3x3”. Speakers at this upcoming forum  will include Dr. Sawsan Al Mahdi, Director General of FoCP, and  Dr. Shible Sahbani, UNFPA’s Regional Reproductive Health Advisor, in addition to a high-level group of keynote speakers and panelists.

More details will be shared soon on how you may join this important event.