Week-long cervical cancer screening campaign starts next week

Cervical cancer

DREAM, under Sant’ Egidion, will start a week long cervical cancer screening campaign in the city of Blantyre on Tuesday.

The campaign will see women in the reproductive age group of 15-49 going for screening in selected health centres across the district.

Cervical cancer
According to reports 3684 women develop Cervical cancer and over 2314 die.(File)

DREAM, in partnership with Total Malawi, Ministry of Health, MSM France, SOS and the Italian Cooperation Agency had a press briefing on Friday at the Blantyre District Health Offices where they announced that the campaign will start from Tuesday, 31 July, 2018 to 3 August 2018.

During the briefing, Director of Health and Social Services in Blantyre Dr. Gift Kawalazira urged the media to spread the message in order for more women in the selected centres to go for the screening in large numbers.

He also urged the media to help in refuting misconceptions that people have towards cervical cancer screening campaigns.

Kawalazira then revealed the reason as to why the screening campaign is solely focusing on Blantyre rural.

“We are focusing on Blantyre rural because most women do not have the opportunity to go for cervical cancer screening.

“Last year, we targeted 13 000 women from which 47.3% were screened, with 66 women being suspected to have the disease,” he said.

He also advised women who may miss out on the campaign to go to centres in Blantyre where they can be screened.

And speaking on behalf of DREAM, National Coordinator for Cervical Cancer Dr. Hawa Mamary Sangare said the main aim of the campaign is to prevent the disease from killing more women and to save would be victims who have no cervical cancer but are yet to go for the screening.

“Being a woman, I felt that we need to do much on Cervical Cancer because if you check the HPV International Center 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 screening campaign.

“The process is simple as it takes five minutes to complete and then the women are told their results. Once found positive, it’s a requirement that they get treated and normally, the treatment takes about four weeks of bed rest and by doing so, we are able to prevent the disease from killing our women that’s why we are encouraging girls as young as 14 to go for this screening campaign because that’s the age where they become sexually active and cervical cancer is spread through sexual activities,” she said.

She also pleaded with the media to sensitize women to go to the selected sites for the campaign.

According to Dr. Mamary Sangare, Malawi has the highest incidence of cervical cancer as 3684 women develop the disease.

In 2017, 6411 women went for the screening campaign, representing 46.3 % of the 13839 women.

This year, the campaign is targeting 14324 to be screened at the selected sites namely Chawala, Mdeka, Lirangwe, Lundu, Chileka, Madziabango, Dziwe and DREAM Mandala.

During the mass cervical cancer campaign in April last year, 2731 women were screened where 89 were on pre-cancer lesions and 12 women were suspected to have the disease.

The organization had cancer outreach clinics last year where 143 women were screened from which two women were on pre cancer lesions and two women were suspected to have the disease.

The organization also conducted outreach screening at Chichiri Prison in 2018 where 47 women were screened.

It was revealed that Blantyre district has the highest number of cervical cancer cases.

DREAM is a global health care which aims to lessen non-communicable and communicable diseases.

So far, more than 43 health workers have been trained on cervical cancer screening.

Last year, the campaign was launched in the area of Senior Chief Kunthembwe in Chileka.