A week-long Cervical Cancer Screening Campaign conducted in Blantyre by DREAM in partnership with St Egidio has seen over 2000 women turning up for screening at different health centers across the city with 30 testing positive with VisuaI Inspection Aciticacid (VIA) and seven being found with cervical cancer.
The campaign was launched last week at Chikuli in Chileka in the area of Traditional Authority Kunthembwe where women were encouraged to go for screening in order to be safe from the deadly disease.
With the campaign closing by the end of business hours today, the organisation’s National Coordinator for Cervical Cancer Dr Hawa Mamary Sangare said the whole process has gone very well but she was quick to highlight challenges encountered during the campaign.
“The campaign is going on very well with over 2000 women turning up for the screening and so far, 30 have tested positive with VisuaI Inspection with Aciticacid (VIA), seven being found with cervical cancer.
“The biggest challenge was that several women were not aware of the dangers of cervical cancer but with this campaign and health talk, more women have now realized the importance of testing for this disease and they are still coming. Like yesterday, more than 100 women came for the screening at Lundu and still the demand is high,” she said.
Dr Mamary Sangare then revealed the reason why the campaign has only lasted for a week saying lack of funding has forced them to cut the campaign short.
“If you can remember very well, during the campaign launch, District Health Officer for Blantyre revealed that 13 000 women were targeted for screening but only 5262 were screened in 2016. Now, in a week, more than 2000 have been screened, what more if the campaign lasted for months? Unfortunately, we are closing the campaign today because we don’t have enough funding.
“Those that need to be screened are from rural areas where services are not provided and there is a lot that needs to be done. We have funding from St Egidio and we have other partners but still more, we will need more funding if we are to save women from this deadly disease. I am appealing to well wishers and the corporate world to help us reach out to more women,” she explained.
She then disclosed that the campaign will continue beyond this week if funding is available.
And commenting on the issue, Professor Frank Taulo hailed DREAM for the campaign and promised to train more health workers at College of Medicine in order to save more women from Cervical Cancer.
He then appealed to well wishers to reach out to women in the rural areas in order to reduce this deadly disease.
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.
In 2016, 923 women were screened for cervical cancer in DREAM program in which 5% tested positive.