FIRST Lady Christine Kaseba has implored all stakeholders to invest in cancer education and screening services to reduce cervical cancer deaths.
Dr Kaseba said cervical cancer had contributed to deaths among women especially in Southern Africa and Zambia in particular, where the negative impact of the disease has been exacerbated by the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS among women.
She was speaking when she launched the Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata Cervical Cancer Screening Centre at Wusakile Mine Hospital in Kitwe yesterday.
Dr Kaseba said while the country had done well in availing quality HIV care to women, it was unacceptable that some of the women ended up dying from cancer.
Cancer, she said, was highly preventable and treatable if diagnosed early.
She said more than 500,000 women globally develop cervical cancer leading to about 250,000 deaths and that it was anticipated that by 2030, the number of women dying in Africa would be increased.
The First Lady said it was therefore imperative that something should be done to halt the trend.
"It is sad that women are dying because many do not have access to cancer education, screening and treatment services.
"It is sad that despite professionals and policy makers having the knowledge and tools to prevent the burden of disease and the tragic loss of lives, it has taken the country long to implement cervical cancer prevention and control programmes," she said.
Dr Kaseba said cancer prevention and control programmes would not only have prevented deaths but would have created substantial improvement in the health and well being of families.
She commended Government for prioritising cancer and other non communicable diseases on its health agenda.
The First Lady hailed Mopani Copper Mines for introducing cancer screening centres in Kitwe and Mufulira at no cost.
Mopani Chief Executive Officer Danny Callow said the company decided to set up two cancer screening units at Wusakile and Malcom hospitals to supplement Government efforts.
Mr Callow said the objective of the programme was to increase access in screening services of cervical cancer by all women on the Copperbelt.
He said regular screening for cervical cancer was crucial in controlling the disease through early detection and treatment.
Copperbelt provincial minister Mwenya Musenge, Kit we mayor Chileshe Bweupe and several District Commissioners on the Copperbelt attended the function.