Having sexual intercourse before a girl is 18 years old is leading the increase in causing cancer of the cervix, according to Youth Friendly Health Services Coordinator for Blantyre District Health Office, Mary Wiseman.
Wiseman said during a sensitization meeting of gate keepers of Traditional Authority Makata on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Rights of Adolescents on Thursday.
“When you are under aged and you are practicing sex, the opening of your uterus is likely to tire as it is not yet mature. The tires increase your chances of contracting cancer of the cervix if the partner is carrying cancer cells,” said Wiseman.
She said they were sensitizing gate keepers so that they encourage youths to take charge of their bodies and access SRH.
“HIV is regarded as an adult disease that makes young people relax on preventing contracting the disease. However, it is the youths that are dying of the disease,” Wiseman said.
Margaret Chigona, a Clinical Officer said they have observed that the turn up of adults in the Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) campaigns which may help reducing cervical cancer was very low.
“The main target of VMMC is adults because they are the sexually active population so that they reduce the risk of contracting HIV by 60 percent. However, adults are not forthcoming to get this service but young boys of 10 to 16 years old,” said Chigona.
Good Samaritan Church Pastor, Joseph Chipongwe of Ntocha Village said most adults realize the need and importance of VMMC but were discouraged by the six weeks healing period.
Blantyre District Council through the DHO, Youth Office, Social Welfare Office and Aids Coordinator is implementing a project, Narrowing the Gap, Scaling Up SRH and HIV Services and Information for Adolescents with support from GTZ through Norwegian Church Aid.
In a related development, Malawi’s First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has called upon all women in the country to embrace the tendency of going for cervical cancer screening.
The First Lady said all the Districts Hospitals in Malawi have got the screening facilities making it possible for more women to be going for the screening.
She said this at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, when she received assistance from the UNFPA of cryotherapy machines which are used to screen women for cervical cancer.
“On 11th August this year in Ntcheu, I launched the Stop Cervical Cancer campaign, and I am glad to note that many women now go for cervical cancer screening.
“This assistance has come in time as it will help to complement the already existing machines in our various district hospitals for I know some of the machines are old and might be malfunctioning,” she said.
According to Madam Mutharika, out of 20, 000 women who go for cervical cancer screening, 2,300 women are found with the problem and 1, 600 women die because of it, making it a gargantuan challenge for Government to look into it.
“As a way of curbing the problem, government made available screening facilities in all the district hospitals, but with this kind assistance from our partner UNFPA, it will go a long way to deal with the problem further,” she said.
On her part UNFPA Deputy Representative Dr. Rogaia Abdelrahim concurred with Mutharika on the need for more women to be going for screening in the fight against cervical cancer.
UNFPA as a partner to government in the health sector, they have given the cryotherapy machine to help fight against the problem of cervical cancer in Malawi.
“Any woman, who attained the age of 18, should go for the screening and do likewise after five years. In the same way, HIV positive mothers, need to go for the said screening after every two years,” she urged.
She said Malawi ranks the top most when it comes to issues of cervical cancer in Africa because of many reasons including early pregnancies, maternal complications, having multiple sexual partners, among other things.
The cryotherapy machine given which are worthy MK10 million have since been distributed to Dedza, Mchinji, Ntcheu, Nkhatabay, Mangochi and Chiradzulu, district hospitals.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :