Cervical cancer remain a challenge to Malawian women

Lilongwe: Global Hope Mobilization (GLOHOMO) says cervical cancer has remained a challenge among women in the country as far as public health service is concerned.

Global Hope Mobilization made remarks on Monday during the handover ceremony of cervical cancer screening and treatment machine to Lilongwe District Health Office at District Council Offices.

Global Hope Mobilization Executive Director Caleb Thole said it is the most common and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Malawi.

Cervical cancer represents 40 percent of all cancer among females and Malawi has the highest age standardized incidence rate at 75.9 per 100 000 in the world, he said.

Thole pointed out that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer and is linked with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

In HIV infected women, cervical cancer is an AIDS defining illness and it affects the highest number of women who are still in the economically productive age group.

Death of women from cancer causes disruption of families and negatively impacts the development of children, he pointed out.

Thole added that HIV prevalence of 13 per cent among adult women aged from 15 to 49 years in the country and the continued rise in incidence of cervical cancer cases despite antiretroviral therapy roll out, cervical cancer continues to be a threat to the society’s economic growth and development.

He observed that fortunately, cervical cancer is preventable and there are now Human Papillomavirus HPV vaccines that if given to adolescent girls have been shown to effectively prevent HPV infection and a large portion of cervical cancer.

Director Health and Social Welfare Services at Lilongwe District Council, Dr. Alinafe Mbewe said organised cervical cancer screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions has been shown to reduce deaths from cervical cancer by 70 per cent in previously unscreened population in developed countries.

This success has not been realized in developing countries due to numerous health systems challenges and community awareness, she pointed out.

SRHR Africa Trust (SAT) Country Director Robert Mangwazu Phiri said, There is a little number of people who are aware of their cancer Status, so those having VIA positive referred at treated through referrals to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.

Chairperson of Lilongwe District Council, Councilor John Kawinga said government is committed to implementing this strategic plan despite the financial and institutional challenges.

National Cervical Cancer Control Strategy 2016 to 2020 has been developed to incorporate emerging issues from existing efforts at cervical cancer prevention and control, and also to incorporate HPV vaccine and promote integration of cervical cancer screening into HIV care.

The strategy outlines comprehensive interventions to be taken by government and other partners in mitigating the burden of cervical cancer.

Global Hope Mobilization (GLOHOMO) is working together with other organizations include Lead Partner, SRHR Africa Trust, Lilongwe District Council, Nkhotakota DHO and Prison Services to reduce the challenge.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA