9 March 2014

Tanzania: Women Mark Day Amid Challenges

Mwanza and Ashery Mkama in Dar es Salaam — WOMEN in Tanzania joined the rest of the world on Saturday to mark International Women's Day.

In Mwanza, First Lady, Mama Salma Kikwete wife of the president, urged men in Mwanza region to allow their wives attend health facilities to check for cervical cancer as if left undetected the disease costs the lives of many women in the country.

She made the call here in the city on Saturday, during activities to commemorate Women's Day, which included launching the cervical cancer awareness campaign, which was jointly organised by Medical Women Association of Tanzania (MEWATA), Tanzania Youth Alliance (TAYOHA), Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Marie Stopes and other stakeholders.

"Let me urge all to allow their wives to go check up, as it saves lives", she said while thanking MEWATA.

The First Lady said women aged from 30 to 50 years are encouraged to check for cervical cancer and the service is provided free of charge.

The First Lady inaugurated the cervical cancer campaign by handing over 16 machines worth 80m/- to the Regional Medical Officers of Mwanza, Mara, Mbeya and Iringa regions.

Mwanza Acting Regional Commissioner, Said Magarula said Mwanza region this year has commemorated Women's Day differently.

He urged health stakeholders to emulate examples shown by MEWATA to improve women's health in the country stressing that healthy women translate into healthy families and a healthy country at large. Chairperson of MEWATA, Dr Serafina Mkuwa thanked the First Lady for taking time out of her busy schedule to be present at the campaign.

According to Dr Mkuwa, Cervical cancer when not treated early kills. She urged women to scan for cervical cancer even if they are feeling well.

In a separate development, speaking at the occasion to mark the event held at regional level in Dar es Salaam, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Ms Hawa Ghasia said government is making deliberate efforts to empower women economically.

She noted that it is the responsibility of public in general to recognise and ensure that women and men continue to show solidarity and promote gender equality within their families, and respect of human rights.

This year's motto states, "Inspiring Change for Gender Equality" aims to educate and remind the community at large the importance of fighting gender imbalance and discrimination.

Despite achievements recorded worldwide on gender equality has not yet been realised due to various factors such as male chauvinism, traditional practices among communities and a negative perception of the role of women as opposed to high ranking of men.

Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Said Meck Sadiki reminded the public about the need to take seriously the issue of health security and mentioned Hepatitis 'B' as one of the most dangerous diseases which can be prevented by observing hygienic practices.

"All municipal councils in the city have the obligation to have in place a special arrangement to make sure that all children who have not been inoculated undergo the vaccination to prevent them from suffering from the disease," the RC said.

The Executive Secretary of the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), Ms Mary Massay in collaboration with other stakeholders said the Commission has presented a report on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) that reveals that the denial of women rights came up strongly among other human rights grievances.

It was further revealed that, government has resolved to implement the National Human Rights Action Plan which was officially inaugurated by the Vice-President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal at the climax of the World Human Rights Anniversary marked on 10 December last year.

International Women's day is usually observed on March 8, every year, giving the opportunity to women to reflect on different challenges facing them and think of possible solutions.

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