HUNDREDS of women and girls in Hopley, thronged the free Cervical Cancer and Breast Cancer screening drive that was being offered by Angel Of Hope Foundation, a charity organization under Zimbabwe’s First Lady and Health Ambassador, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa.
By Patricia Mashiri
The Cancer Screening session was offered through Angel of Hope’s Mobile clinic facilities which included a bus among other mobile facilities.
Speaking during the cancer screening session in Hopely, Harare South, Amai Mnangagwa said even though it was breast cancer month, women continued to lose lives to other cancers such as Cervical cancer hence the move by Angel of Hope to integrate cancer screening services.
I have brought my bus here so that you will also be screened for cervical cancer. I am aware that it is breast cancer awareness month but let’s recognise that all other cancers do not take a break, hence utilize the mobile clinic here and go home knowing your status concerning breast and cervical cancer.
“People are going late for screening when the cancer has affected the whole body but today I’m saying let’s utilize the facilities we have here today. The nurses will explain how do self breast examination even when you are home,”said Amai Mnagnagwa.
The event also saw various health services being offered including blood tests, HIV testing and blood pressure checks among others. Cancer has been a common diseases around the world with cervical cancer accounting for 19% of cancers in females and breast cancer being the second common with about 13.5%.
"We also have different stations here don't go home without being checked. Get checked for blood pressure and get tested for HIV among others.We are in the cancer month but we already have other disease we are fighting hence we need to know where we are standing,"she said.
She added that COVID-19 was not yet over and people should continue observing COVID-19 protocols and guidelines including sanitization, wearing face masks and social distancing so that the economy will fully open up.
Meanwhile, Ms Harriet Kongin who was representing Ms Sophia Mukasa Monico, the UNAIDS Country Director applauded the First Lady for the cervical cancer screenings programs.
“We are delighted to be part of the cancer screening session. We thank you your Excellency for advocating for prevention and management for Cervical cancer. Cervical cancer accounts for most of all new cancers affecting women. We know that the Human Papillomavirus is the cause of the most cervical cancer and is sexually transmitted just like HIV.
“In Zimbabwe cervical cancer remains the most frequent of new cancer infections among women and it is also reported that women living with HIV are six times at higher risk of getting cervical cancer than others. Therefore it is important that as we address the issue of cervical cancer we also emphasise the importance of HIV prevention,” Kongin said
She added that young women between the ages of 15-24 are particularly vulnerable to both diseases which is HIV and cancer therefore, there should be a focused approach addressing adolescent girls and young women.
Dr Collen Madembo, from the Ministry of Health and Child Care said early screening and detection prevents severe and fatal cases of cancer.
“Let’s all get screened for cancer so that by 2030 it will be a reality that we will no longer have cancer. Through the Angel of Hope, the Ministry and the women have benefited a lot. She also launched the HPV vaccine which will prevent and reduce the prevalence of cervical cancer in the country,” Dr Madembo said.
Meanwhile, Honourable Tongai Mnangagwa, the Member of Parliament for Harare South applauded the first lady for the great cancer screening initiative and urged citizens to ride on the initiative for better health outcomes.
“Lets use the chance today that the first lady has visited us. Get screened for everything so that you will go home knowing where you stand,” Honourable Mnangagwa said.
Cancer of the breast and cervix are the most common cancers which are treatable if detected and treated early.