The First Lady of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. Gertrude Mutharika, has called on religious leaders, civil society organizations, politicians, health services providers and development partners to join hands in the fight against cervical cancer.
The First Lady made the call on Friday at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe where she officially launched the Nkhoma CCAP Hospital Cervical Cancer Screening Programme Symposium.
The symposium was aimed at sharing what the Nkhoma CCAP, through their health arm, Nkhoma Hospital, have been doing to fight cervical cancer through screening and Thermal Coagulation for the past 3 years.
The first lady described cervical cancer as one of the worst diseases burdening the country with World Health Organisation (WHO) reports ranking Malawi as a country with the highest prevalence rate of cervical cancer in the world.
“The well being of every society is measured by the health of its women,” said Mutharika. “As Vice President of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), it saddens me to see that women are dying of cervical cancer when it can be suppressed if detected at an early stage.
“The battle will rage on for years but we will win it if we all join hands … together we can bring hope to our women.”
The First Lady hailed Nkhoma CCAP for initiating the cervical cancer screening programme through its health arm, Nkhoma Hospital, and the Scottish government for funding the thermal coagulation for cervical cancer treatment.
Speaking earlier Nkhoma CCAP Synod Moderator, Dr. Rev. Msangaambe, said as a church, they would strive to make the world a better place to live in, besides preaching to people for them to go to heaven.
Msangaambe described cervical cancer as a silent killer and he appealed to well-wishers to support Nkhoma Hospital roll out the Thermal Coagulation treatment across the country to save lives of women.
The Thermal Coagulation programme was developed by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and funded by the Scottish government in response to the proposal that Nkhoma Hospital submitted in a bid to fight cervical cancer in Malawi.
Meanwhile, there are 13 health institutions across the country where Thermal Coagulation is offered upon one testing positive of cervical cancer.
For the past 3 years since Thermal Coagulation has been in use 15,000 women have undergone screening of cervical cancer within Nkhoma Hospital’s catchment area and 6.1 percent of the screened women tested positive, according to Msangaambe.
He further disclosed that ninety percent of those who tested positive of cervical cancer received on-spot treatment in the hospitals they were screened and that 3 – 6 months cure rates of more than 90 percent were observed after the treatment.
Meanwhile, speakers at the symposium have called upon women and young women of child-bearing age to go for cervical cancer screening for early detection and treatment.