Home » Human Rights » Midlands Women Reel Under Effects of Cervical Cancer

MOLINE Moyo, 45, writhed and moaned in pain at her rural home in the Tongogara rural area in Shurugwi.

Her husband, worried about her deteriorating condition, took her to the nearest Zvamavande Rural Hospital for treatment. A nurse who attended to Moline referred the couple to Gweru for cervical cancer screening.

Upon arrival at Gweru General Hospital, Moline was asked to return the next day as the health institution had met its quota for the day. Gweru Hospital can only screen 25 women per day for cervical cancer due to resource constraints.

Moline had no option but to return to her rural home. But given the transport challenges from Tongogara to Gweru her chances of making it for screening the next day are again next to impossible.

Her (Moline) situation is one example of many women in the Midlands province who are battling with the condition as they fail to access cervical cancer services.

According to a recent report released by the Midlands Aids Support Organisation (MASO), just three out of the province’s eight districts that offer cervical cancer services putting the lives of many women in danger.

“This service is only available in three out of eight districts in the province namely Gweru, one, Kwekwe, two and Gokwe North, one respectively,” the report notes.

MASO revealed that in the fourth quarter 2014, the organisation referred 3 294 to access cervical cancer services in the province.

“It is highly recommended that this service be offered in all district hospitals since it is a critical service for women,” MASO suggested in its report.

Data released by the Midlands Aids Support Organisation (MASO) last year showed that Shurugwi District alone has more than 400 women on the waiting list for the cervical cancer screenings.

When releasing the report last year MASO district field officer, Sandra Mhokore said women in rural areas were facing challenges in accessing the service.

“The major challenge is that, at Gweru Provincial Hospital, they only accommodate 25 women per day for screening so at times women from rural areas have to make two to three visits to the hospital before they can be attended,” Mhokore said.

In Zimbabwe cancer is one of the major causes of illness and mortality with over 7,000 new cancers and 1,000 deaths recorded each year.

According to the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry, about 4 million women over the age of 15 are at risk of developing cervical cancer.

The country has however made strides in the prevention of cervical cancer and last year launched a vaccine, Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) serum for girls under the age of 10.

While launching the vaccine last September, Health and Child Care minister, David Parirenyatwa said government acknowledged cervical cancer as the leading cancer in Zimbabwe.

“The major cause is HPV and women get that virus through sexual contact with men so we want to break that chain through prevention by vaccination,” Parirenyatwa said.

Although significant strides have been made through the commissioning of free cancer screening machines in districts and provincial hospitals in the country, women – particularly in rural areas – still face challenges in accessing these thereby continuing to pose a challenge to their well-being.

Source : New Zimbabwe