DREAM will start a week long cervical cancer screening campaign in the city of Blantyre today.
The screening campaign will see women in the reproductive age group of 15-49 going for the screening campaign in selected health centres across the district.
DREAM, in partnership with Total Malawi, Ministry of Health, Red Cross, Macro, PSI, MSH and Deloitte Malawi, launched the screening campaign on Wednesday morning at Chikuli in Chileka where women were encouraged to go for the campaign in order to be safe from the deadly disease.
The organisation’s National Coordinator for Cervical Cancer Dr Hawa Mamary Sangare said there is need to do much on cervical cancer.
“Being a woman, I felt that we need to do much on cervical cancer because if you check the HPV International Centre data, it is estimated that every year, 3684 women develop this disease and over 2314 die so if we are to save lives, we must encourage our women to undergo this cervical cancer screening campaign which is starting on 20th April and will end on 26th April,” she explained.
She also revealed that in 2016, 923 women were screened for cervical cancer in DREAM program where 5% tested positive.
Dr Sangare then explained that the global health care will have a cervical cancer awareness campaign and mass screening which will cover all areas in the district in February next year.
“During next year’s campaign, we will do a biopsy specimen at the sites of screening for women who will be found with suspected cancer lesions.
“We will also support referral hospitals with surgery kits, train more visual inspection with acetic acid and we will provide HPV vaccine for teen clubs but for all these plans to be fulfilled, we need support from all our partners,” she said.
Blantyre District Health Officer Dr Medson Matchaya pleaded with women to go for this campaign in order to be safe from cervical cancer.
“The whole process takes about five minutes to complete and then women are told their results. I am encouraging women from this city to go for the cervical cancer campaign in order for them to be safe.
“Cervical cancer is the number one cancer in Malawi which is claiming many lives of women. We haven’t done enough to save the lost lives hence consulting our partners to help us and they responded positively towards ending this disease. Apart from testing for cervical cancer, if they have other problems, we have the ability to treat them.
“This cancer gives a warning to women that one day it will develop and once discovered early, it’s exposed to treatment but if discovered very late, it’s always difficult for us to treat the disease,” he explained.
He then revealed that last year, his office targeted to reach out to 13 000 women but only managed to reach 5 000 due to other unforeseen problems.
Dr Ethel Kamwendo Banda, who was the guest of honour at the event hailed DREAM for launching such an important campaign.
She then urged all women in the district to go for the screening campaign in order to reduce deaths caused by cervical cancer.
The campaign was launched in the area of Senior Chief Kunthembwe in the area.
DREAM is a global health care which aims to lessen non-communicable and communicable diseases.
So far, 43 health workers have been trained on cervical cancer screening.