By Nhau Mangirazi
Magunje, September 01, 2016 – HUNDREDS of women from rural Magunje area have benefitted from a free cervical cancer screening exercise which was conducted by two United Kingdom based Zimbabwean doctors.
The two female doctors, Tsitsi Chituku and Fadzai Kanyangarara, also took time to conscientise the 700 plus less privileged women on their health rights.
The exercise took place recently at Magunje growth point, some 35 km west of Karoi town.
One of the beneficiaries, Martha Matashu of Mukusa village, said it was refreshing to get free medical services from fellow women.
“The service was very humane and they took their time with every patient unlike in our public hospitals where we are harassed when we visit them,” said Matashu, aged 45.
Thirty three year old Chenai Maparamhaka also thanked the doctors for visiting the remote area which has suffered in terms of access to general health facilities and they now knew where they stood in terms of their health status.
“Knowing your status on any disease is not a death penalty but is an opportunity to know how you should manage it going forward. Health is a basic human right for everyone,’’ said the mother of three.
Kanyangarara said it was encouraging to note that women, especially those based in rural areas, were eager to learn more about issues affecting their health.
“It is encouraging that our motive has not been wasted as this is second time we are doing here in the country,” said Kanyangarara.
She said this was in line with their plans to have the exercise as an annual event adding that this was in keeping with their obligations to empower society.
The Magunje event was the doctors’ second such initiative after they did the same in Karoi last year.
Chituku, who grew up in Karoi, echoed the same sentiments, adding that they were giving back to the community.
She added: “There is room to raise consciousness on health matters and Karoi was our first port of call for this project that we think will improve with time,” she said.
The two doctors assisted in high blood pressure, breast and cancer screening.
Cervical cancer accounts for one-third of all cancer cases in Zimbabwe and is the leading cause of cancer death among Zimbabwean women.
However, the high disease burden is heavily influenced by the HIV epidemic.
Cervical cancer screening and prevention, or VIAC, is being done in all hospitals but the majority hardly access it forcing mostly rural women to suffer in silence.
According to World Health Organisation, WHO, cervical cancer remains the leading cause of morbidity among all the cancers.
WHO website says, “According to the 2012 Zimbabwe Cancer Registry Report, Cervical Cancers constituted 15 % of all cancers and the annual death rate from cervical cancers is reported to be 33 per 100 000. Death from cervical cancer is thus the leading cause of all cancer deaths in Zimbabwe”.