Chinese genomics firm, Rwanda launch cervical cancer screening activities

Source:xinhua 2024-05-06

The Genomics Institute-BGI Genomics, the world's leading integrated solutions provider of precision medicine, in cooperation with the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), launched a cervical cancer screening program on Tuesday at Remera Health Center in the Remera sector, Ngoma District, Eastern Province.

The cancer screening activities will provide 20,000 human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA tests for local women, aiming to enhance cervical cancer screening and prevention efforts and improve local precision medical testing capabilities.

Speaking at the event, Pudence Rubingisa, governor of Eastern Province, commended the Chinese-based company for initiating a significant program that aims to boost cervical cancer screening and prevention efforts, particularly in Eastern Province.

"I thank the Chinese government for supporting Rwanda's efforts in various health activities, including healthcare infrastructure, medical support, and training," he said.

Rubingisa emphasized that cancer remains a disease that instills fear, and there is a need to actively prevent it and take drastic measures to ensure everyone can participate and reach out to our people in the fight against breast or cervical cancer. "As local leaders, we are committed to ensuring screening and raising awareness," he said.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda Wang Xuekun said BGI Genomics is a leading enterprise in the gene industry of China and the world. Today, BGI Genomics donated medical equipment and supplies worth 1.6 million U.S. dollars to improve women's health in Rwanda.

"I highly appreciate this move, as it boosts Rwanda's health industry and promotes China-Rwanda friendship," he added.

Wang noted that China and Rwanda have conducted fruitful cooperation in the health industry, highlighting that China aided in building Kibungo Hospital and Masaka Hospital, which cover a population of 500,000.

He highlighted that since 1982, China has sent 24 batches of medical teams to Rwanda, with a total of 303 doctors. To date, they have treated over 700,000 patients and conducted over 38,000 surgeries, saving more than 16,300 lives.

Albert Tuyishime, head of the Department of HIV/AIDS Disease Prevention and Control at the RBC, told Xinhua in an interview at the launch event that the program will assist Rwandans in addressing the issue of cervical cancer.

"HPV detection or screening is the best approach compared to what we used to have here in the country. It will enable us to conduct timely and early screenings and diagnoses, facilitating treatment and reducing the increasing mortality and morbidity associated with cervical cancer," he added.

"In China, HPV DNA testing technology has been applied in many large-scale public health service programs and achieved remarkable results. We hope that cervical cancer screening can leverage BGI Genomics technology and a self-sampling model in countries worldwide and help accelerate the goal of eliminating cervical cancer worldwide," said Du Yutao, chief operating officer of BGI Genomics.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for screening and treatment of cervical pre-cancer lesions for cervical cancer prevention, HPV DNA testing, with an accuracy rate of up to 95 percent, is the first-choice screening method for cervical cancer screening. A self-sampling model is recommended, whereby women collect their test samples, followed by centralized testing.

BGI Genomics' self-developed HPV DNA testing products are suitable for large-scale population screening and precise HPV genotyping. A single test can screen for the 14 high-risk HPV types highly correlated with the occurrence of cervical cancer as per WHO guidelines and is validated by large-scale clinical data to be suitable for self-sampling. 


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