RWANDA—BGI Genomics, a major global provider of precision medical solutions and part of the BGI Group, has started its first cervical cancer screening program in Africa, with Rwanda serving as the first beneficiary.

This declaration follows a recent donation of medical equipment and supplies worth US$1.6 million to the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) to boost cervical cancer screening initiatives in Rwanda.

The program, launched in Ngoma District in Rwanda’s Eastern Province, seeks to give 20,000 Human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA tests to local women.

This initiative aims to increase cervical cancer screening, preventative initiatives, and local precision medical testing capacity.

This launch event was attended by Wang Xuekun, Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda; Pudence Rubingisa, Governor of Eastern Province; Nathalie Niyonagira, Mayor of Ngoma District; and Dr. Albert Tuyishime, Head of RBC’s HIV/AIDS Diseases Prevention and Control Department.

Other notable attendees included Dr. Theoneste Maniragaba, Director of the RBC Cancer Diseases Unit; Dr. Du Yutao, Chief Operating Officer of BGI Genomics; and Gao Zhiqiang, Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda.

Speaking at the occasion, Ambassador Wang Xuekun emphasized BGI Genomics’ leadership in the genomic company, as well as its substantial contributions to establishing friendship between China and Rwanda and expanding Rwanda’s medical and health industries.

In his speech, Mr. Rubingisa expressed gratitude to BGI Genomics and other partners and highlighted the need to utilize all available resources, including local health workers and agencies, to facilitate effective screening, awareness, and education activities.

He emphasized how important these initiatives are for improving the community’s well-being.

For his part, Dr. Tuyishime stated that cervical cancer is a big global problem, particularly in developing nations with limited treatment choices, such as Rwanda.

He claimed that the collaboration with BGI Genomics will improve screening services in Ngoma District, with ambitions to expand them nationwide.

According to Dr. Yutao, HPV DNA testing technology has been used in numerous large-scale public health service projects in China, with outstanding results.

He expressed hope that cervical cancer screening can use BGI Genomics’ technology and the self-sampling paradigm in nations around the world, helping to advance the aim of eliminating cervical cancer globally.

BGI Genomics’ self-developed HPV DNA testing tools are ideal for large-scale population screening and precise HPV genotyping.

According to WHO guidelines, a single test can screen for the 14 high-risk HPV strains that are strongly associated with the occurrence of cervical cancer and has been verified by large-scale clinical data to be acceptable for self-sampling.

The RBC, Rwanda’s public health implementation agency, is committed to improving local public health through scientific research, diagnostic services, and innovative healthcare treatments.

For this initiative, BGI Genomics offers a comprehensive solution that includes laboratory equipment and technology transfer.

Rwandan workers handle all project materials and testing data, which are then stored locally in accordance with local laws and regulations.

The organization will also help to upgrade the local closed-loop management system from cervical cancer screening to positive intervention, thereby considerably improving Rwanda’s healthcare infrastructure.

The Chinese medical team aiding Rwanda is assisting with the execution of the cervical cancer screening project, and the team’s leader, Zhang Heping, attended the inaugural ceremony.

Cervical cancer is the second most frequent malignancy among Rwandan women, with data from the Rwanda Health Management Information System (HMIS), indicating that only 24% of eligible Rwandan women have had cervical cancer screening in the last five years.

In the future, BGI Genomics intends to provide advanced genetic testing tools for reproductive health, tumor screening, and infectious disease prevention and control in Rwanda.

This will increase the overall capacity and efficacy of precision medicine while also helping to update the local medical and healthcare systems.

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