Zimbabwe marks the beginning of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week with calls for more resources to be directed towards treatment of the disease.
The month of January was set aside to raise awareness and generate demand for the uptake of cervical cancer services. In Zimbabwe, cervical cancer screening is offered for free in most government health facilities, but most women, including those living with HIV, are not aware of the services.
Those that test positive sometimes fail to access treatment as they are not easily accessible, especially in rural areas.
The main cause of cervical cancer is persistent infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), an extremely common family of viruses that are transmitted through sexual contact.
Zimbabwe Health Interventions (ZHI) technical officer Dr Ngonidzashe Ganje said more awareness is needed so that more women get screened for cervical cancer.
“We have managed to reach out to women for cancer screening and although we can treat some with pre-cancer lesions, some who test positive need cancer treatment not readily available even in public hospitals. As we start this week, we call on more women to continue screening for early diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer,” he said.
“We call for more resources to be availed so that even after screening, women are able to access the lifesaving treatment.
Cervical cancer can be treated and we can address the prevalence by ensuring that every woman tests and that those who need treatment have access.”
[Information extracted from Social Media.]
See also Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, which has more information.