Women with early stage lesions of the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer who were unable to access treatment due to resource constraints, are set to benefit from receiving treatment , following the launch of preventive Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) services at Gutu rural hospital.
Speaking during the launch ceremony, MSF Gynaecologist, Dr Severine Caluwaerts said cancer was preventable and early screening could go a long way in stopping its spread in the body.
“As MSF, we believe that no woman should die of cervical cancer because it can be prevented. If women are screened early, they can be protected from developing cervical cancer.
“If women are screened early, they can be protected from developing cervical cancer,” said Caluwaerts.
Apart from just donating the LEEP machine to the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) MSF has also trained a doctor at Gutu Rural Hospital to perform LEEP procedures.
Before the introduction of LEEP activities, women who had pre-cancerous lesions that covered more than 75 percent of the cervix or extended inside the mouth of the cervix and could not be treated with cryotherapy, were being referred to Newlands Clinic in Harare for treatment with LEEP. MSF was paying and meeting all expenses for patients to be treated with LEEP in Harare.
Since 2015, MSF has been supporting MoHCC to provide early detection through cervical cancer screening services at six clinics and hospitals in Gutu including Gutu rural and Gutu mission hospitals. Gutu is the only rural district in the country that has more than one centre offering cervical cancer screening services.
Speaking at the same occasion, MSF Doctor, Abraham Mapfumo said“Treating patients who needed LEEP in Harare was not cost effective or sustainable. Some patients were not able to travel to Harare to receive treatment and it was difficult to follow them up.”
However, according to MSF, the challenge that remains is for women who present late and are found to have lesions that are suspicious of cancer, MSF in collaboration with MoHCC is providing support for the diagnosis and referral of cancer to Harare or Bulawayo central hospitals.