First Lady Monica Chakwera has challenged various stakeholders to join forces if the battle against Cervical Cancer was to be won in the country.
She made the challenge Saturday evening in Blantyre at a high level dinner organized by Chatinkha Maternity Care (CHAMACA) in a bid to raise funds to buy materials for cervical Cancer screening in rural areas.
Chakwera said currently materials to be used are not enough for more women to be screened hence the call for concerted efforts from the stakeholders.
“I’m very grateful to see some Malawians being on the fore front in sourcing funds to help the country in the fight against cervical cancer.
“Prevention is better than cure, so we need to be there and work together in sourcing funds so that those organisations can buy more materials to be used in screening more women in line with cervical cancer,” she said
The First Lady called on concerned stakeholders to continue providing awareness to the masses on issues to do with cervical cancer.
“Let me urge the stakeholders to take a leading role in ensuring that our women get screened from cancer because once the disease is recognized at early stage it can be treated without any fear of losing someone.
Minister of Health, Khumbize Chiponda commended Chamaca for the initiative saying it compliments government efforts against cervical cancer in the country.
She acknowledged some of the challenges faced by the health sector in an effort to end cervical cancer but she was quick to say that some of the measures have been put in place to address the challenges.
“The initiative taken by Chamaca is very commendable. All what we need to do as Malawians is to assist them with materials used in cervical cancer screening.
“In rural areas, let me admit that women indeed walk long distances to access health services but I’m happy to say that my ministry is putting in place measures to mitigate challenges. We have plans to construct additional health centres and train health workers in cervical cancer screening,” Chiponda disclosed.
Chairperson for Chatinkha Maternity care (CHAMACA) Prof. Frank Taulo said cervical cancer among women remains a big challenge that needs serious attention from all stakeholders.
He added that they are targeting rural areas after noting challenges that women face to get screened.
“We are targeting rural areas because our experience at Queen Elizabeth Hospital was that most of the cases of cancer are from rural areas. These villages are miles away from district hospitals so it was the issue of access, most women do not have access to health services. We have started the screening process with Nsanje and Chikwawa and the response is overwhelming,” Taulo narrated.
He pointed out that in terms of screening, they are targeting women in the reproductive age group especially those aged between 25 and 45 since they have observed that women at such an age are the ones that develop cancer.
“You can see cervical cancer is a quite challenge and within the region it has been noted that Malawi is doing badly on cancer of the cervix, that’s why we are doing this.
“Our expectation is to give an opportunity to every woman who is at the risk of developing cervical cancer and breast cancer so that we reduce the risk of that,” the Chairperson stated.
According to Taulo, research shows that almost every year 3,000 women die from cervical cancer in the country and 4, 300 new cases are registered in a year.
On her part, Patron for CHAMACA Abida Mia , who is also deputy minister of lands, thanked the First lady for accepting the invitation and joining them in the fundraising drive.
“Your presence here Madam is a symbol of your humility, passion, and determination to see that women’s health is addressed and taken seriously. There are many issues waiting for your attention in your office Madam, we know you are overwhelmed with issues pertaining to the well being of the nation.
“ Ladies and Gentleman The Mother of nation is here because she cares, she is a mother and a daughter. She is passionate about this cause,” said Abida Mia.
During the fundraising dinner, CHAMACA managed to raise K22 million and K1.5 million was donated by First lady.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :