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Tashkent, January 14, 2021 – UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) supply human papillomavirus (HPV) testing equipment and test systems to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan.  This marks the begin of a pilot to further development of  the national cervical cancer prevention programme in Uzbekistan.

The pilot will be implemented in the Republic of Karakalpakstan within the framework of joint UNDP-UNFPA Programme "Building the Resilience of Local Communities Against Health, Environmental and Economic Insecurities in the Aral Sea Region", with the financial support of the Government of Japan and in the city of Chirchik, as part of the joint UNFPA-WHO cervical cancer screening programme.

‘There are 300,000 women globally who die each year from cervical cancer.  But it is one cancer the world can actually eliminate.’, said Mr. Yu, UNFPA Representative in Uzbekistan at the ceremony. As per official data, every year about 1660 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 800 women die from this disease in Uzbekistan. Thus, the burden of diseases associated with the papilloma virus is great. In 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan approved the National Plan for the Control and Prevention of Cancer, including the introduction of comprehensive screening for cervical cancer throughout the country. This plan includes primary preventative measures such as HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening, in addition to measures to improve cervical cancer treatment and palliative care. UNFPA country office in partnership with WHO international expertise and the national cervical cancer prevention working group led by the Ministry of Health has identified that HPV PCR testing should be recommended as a primary screening method. The testing equipment provided to the Ministry of Health will contribute to the national effort on establishment of the comprehensive nationwide screening for cervical cancer

“Cervical cancer is a serious public health concern in Uzbekistan, said, Elmira Basitkhanova, Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan, ”Сervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women in Uzbekistan following breast cancer. The development and launch of the pilot cervical cancer screening programme is in line with the national priorities of Uzbekistan in its health sector and was approved in Presidential Resolution 4513, adopted on 8 November 2019. Moreover, it is important to note that results of this pilot project will serve as a basis for the development of national programme on cervical cancer screening”.

“It is important to combine efforts in tackling the problem of cervical cancer in Uzbekistan to improve the well-being of the most deprived areas of the Aral Sea region. Today's events is a part of our work in the framework of our joint project”. - said Yoko Yamoto, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Uzbekistan.

UNFPA, the United Nations Reproductive Health agency, has been working in Uzbekistan since 1993, and is currently implementing its fifth Country Programme (2020-2025) together with national partners.

The WHO Country Office in Uzbekistan was established in 1993 in Tashkent and currently is working within the framework of the biennial collaborative agreement, which sets out priorities for the Country Office for 2020-2021, between WHO/Europe and the host country.