The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: 2,000 Screened for Cervical Cancer

Photo: Jacqueline Koch/FHCRC
Nurse treating a young patient at the Uganda Cancer Institute (file photo).

Over 2,000 women have benefited from the ongoing mass cervical cancer screening campaign organised by Partners in Health (PIH), a US-based organisation.

The cervical cancer screening campaign, which started last year in July, is ongoing and is slated to continue for some time, according to Dr Jacklin St Fleur, the PIH Director of Women's Health Program.

"We have screened thousands of women since last year and even found some with advanced cases of cervical cancer. We sent seven women for radiotherapy in Uganda and we've so far put over seventy others on treatment," he noted.

PIH spent $3,000 to send the seven women for radiotherapy treatment in Uganda.

According to the doctor, cervical cancer is a dangerous disease that women shouldn't take for granted, calling upon every woman to go for screening as it is conducted free of charge.

Cervical cancer destroys the lives of women so they should make use of the screening for early detection and treatment, just in case they are already suffering from the disease, he warned.

St.Fleur said that they started with training for health providers to equip them with knowledge and skills in cervical cancer screening, treatment and care.

He noted that they have so far trained more than 70 nurses and doctors from five district hospitals and three referral hospitals.

"We have trained health providers in using the Visual Inspection Acetic Acid (VIA) to screen cervical cancer. It's a very effective method that involves the use of vinegar to rapidly diagnose and treat pre-cancerous lesions," he noted.

He added that their areas focus for the cancer screenings are Burera District and Rwinkwavu in Kayonza District, but plans are underway to expand the campaign to other parts of the country so that every woman can have a chance to be screened.

According to him, plans are underway to open up a cancer centre in Rwanda and bring in Oncologists so people don't have to travel to other countries in case there is need for cancer radiotherapy treatment.

Cervical cancer accounts for 27 percent of all the women cancers, according to research conducted by the two university hospitals in Rwanda.

The World Health Organisation also reported that the incidence of cervical cancer in Rwanda is 49 per 100,000 in the population based on an article authored by Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister of Health.

The Rwandan plan is for the country to be free from cervical cancer within 40 years as a result of consistent vaccination, regular screening and timely treatment, according to officials.

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InFocus

Uganda: Cervical Cancer- the Silent Killer

Nurse treating a young patient at the Uganda Cancer Institute (file photo).

About 33.6 percent of women in Uganda are estimated to harbour cervical human papillomavirus infection - the main cause of cervical cancer - at any given time. Read more »