First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa (file photo).
By Tendai Rupapa
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s cancer awareness campaigns across the country have seen over 100 000 women undergoing cervical cancer screening last year.
The First Lady initiated the national cancer awareness campaigns after engaging the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
She led by example when she got screened for cervical and breast cancer at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), as a way of motivating women to do the same.
The First Lady yesterday intensified the fight against the silent killer and took the national awareness campaign to Chikwaka in Goromonzi, Mashonaland East Province, where she had interactive sessions with communities.
This was in commemoration of the World Cancer Day, an international day marked on February 4 to raise awareness on cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment.
“Due to these awareness campaigns, I have managed to get many women, more than 100 000 to be screened and I am looking forward to having more numbers,” the First Lady said.
“My vision is to spread the message on cancer screening to everyone in the country and I am emphasising on getting to those places that are not reachable, the places that are not imaginable for somebody to be there. Taking awareness campaigns to such places to me is a great deal because I want everyone to survive. No woman should die of cervical cancer.
“The month of February is very important to us as on the 4th of February we joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Cancer Day. Today (yesterday) is the 6th of February and we are gathered here at Kowoyo Clinic in Goromonzi District, we are still commemorating this day whose theme this year is ‘I am and I Will’.
“We are concerned about the growing burden of cancer as a country. Each year cancer records an increase in morbidity and mortality.
“Today I have come with the services so that people in this community also get screened for cervical, breast and prostate cancer. I am also encouraging the Government to build more clinics in this area so that people get screened and treated.”
The First Lady said according to the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry, in Harare alone, 2 651 deaths occurred in 2016 due to cancer. She said most of the causes or risk factors for cancer were associated with consuming unhealthy foods and lack of exercise.
“I call upon you all, this is the time for action to prevent cancer morbidity and mortality,” said the First Lady.
“Cancer has not spared anyone from old and young, men and women, just attention across the world is required.
“This year’s theme is telling us that everyone has a role to play in the fight against cancer.
“I want to urge you all to remember that health is at the centre of our well-being. Today I have come with the Angel of Hope Foundation to support the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the mobile bus is here. I want many women to be screened today. Let us remain united in making sure that every Zimbabwean is aware of the threat of cancer and let us seek early help. Know your status, get screened and be treated. If you are not screened today, make sure you go to any clinic anywhere for screening.”
The United Nations commended the First Lady for her efforts to raise awareness on the dangers of cervical cancer.
Speaking at the same occasion, UNFPA country representative Dr Esther Muia said, “Cervical cancer remains a major problem affecting women in Africa, and Zimbabwe is not spared.
“The First Lady has shown great commitment in raising awareness about cervical cancer, encouraging women to be tested and treated. Zimbabwe needs more champions such as her to save the lives of women. Together we will change the lives of girls and women of Zimbabwe.
“With what the First Lady is doing through her foundation — Angel of Hope — we can make cancer a thing of the past, especially cervical cancer.
“She is moving with mobile clinics, taking services to the people and making them more accessible even to the poorest women, thereby leaving no one behind. Amai, please continue the good work, Zimbabwe will become an envy of many.”
The First Lady’s visit yesterday to Kowoyo Clinic saw more than 200 women getting screened.
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Publish date : 2019-02-07 11:08:37