OVER 125 000 women have to date been screened for cervical cancer with 10 000 receiving treatment at Population Services International Zimbabwe’s New Start Centres.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This was said by PSI Zimbabwe Deputy Country Representative Dr Ngonidzashe Madidi last week.
“With support from DFID and the Swedish Embassy, PSI has cumulatively screened over 125,000 women to date for precancerous lesions and treated over 10,000 women with precancerous lesions through the New Start Centre Network,” he said.
The organisation is looking at making women collect samples from HPV DNA screening from their homes.
“In addition, PSI has introduced HPV- DNA screening to increase the program’s screening capacity. There are plans to introduce self- collection of samples HPV DNA screening. Under this program, women will be able to collect samples on their own in the comfort of their homes,” said Dr Madidi.
In 2014, PSI ran a communication campaign with the theme “Early detection saves lives”
“…to encourage women to get screened for cervical cancer early to be able to access treatment timeously using support from DFID. While this campaign was very successful in raising awareness and knowledge of the importance of cervical cancer screening among women, it is important that these interventions are maintained in the mainstream media to achieve to encourage women to access cervical cancer screening in a timely manner,” he said.
Being the second most common cancer among women, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates HPV infections cause approximately 68 000 cases of cervical cancer each year in Africa. In Zimbabwe, according to the cancer registry report og 2010, it is estimated that cervical cancer accounted for 1 855 new cases and 1 286 deaths annually.
“These are projected to increase to 2 587 new cases and 1 772 deaths by 2025. The same 2010 summary report indicated that the prevalence of HPV in those with cervical cancer is 79, 6 percent and the most prevalent subtypes of HPV in the country are sub-types 16 and 18. This high prevalence of cervical cancer, the high burden the disease places on individuals, families communities and the country at large led to the decision to adopt the HPV vaccine in the country,” said WHO Zimbabwe Country Representative Dr Alex Gasasira.