Zimbabwe: First Lady Screened for Cervical, Breast Cancer

Nurse Rehema Nkomola examines a woman for cervical cancer. Global deaths from cervical cancer have increased 40% since 1990, to 266,000.(file photo).
8 February 2018

Firsty Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa was yesterday screened for cervical and breast cancer at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) as a way of motivating women to do the same as the country intensifies the fight against the silent killer.

The First Lady, who also donated an assortment of foodstuffs to the hospital comprising cooking oil, rice, maize-meal, flour and peanut butter, said patients required nutritious diet for them to recover. She introduced a garden and orchard where she planted vegetables and fruit trees.

"Many Zimbabweans suffer from deadly aggressive cancers. Unfortunately, many lack the ability to check and so they simply detect the cancer too late. Cervical cancer can be treated if detected early," she said.

"So I asked myself, what can I do in this fight against cancer and I decided I can use my mouth and my position and be vocal in the creation of awareness and mobilisation of communities to get screened."

The First Lady brought a state -of-the-art mobile clinic from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, which was used for the screening. She said she would move around with the mobile clinic and reach out to women in remote areas.

"I managed to get a mobile clinic to assist me in moving from province to province. In this mobile clinic, people can be screened and tested. I have also been screened so that people know its serious business," said Amai Mnangagwa.

"Medical personnel from the Ministry of Health and Child Care are here to support my programme and I understand they will go even further by deploying more mobile clinics. This will ensure that even the least developed parts of our country are sensitised about cancer, screened and assisted."

The sister-in-charge Visual Inspection Acetic Acid and Cervicography (VIAC) Blessing Gowera, who conducted the screening process on the First Lady, applauded her for taking the initiative. She said it was going to change the perception of women hesitant to undergo the screening process.

"Most women think that cervical cancer screening is only for those who already have cancer, but Amai has taken the lead and it is my wish to see all women undergoing the same," she said.

The First Lady encouraged the hospital to construct a fish pond and pledged to source the fish from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate. Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa thanked the First Lady for fighting cancer.

"We want to thank Amai for leading by example and taking the lead in fighting this disease. Her programmes are people centred and as the ministry, we promise to work hand in hand with her," he said.

Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Angeline Masuku urged women in her province and the nation at large to emulate the First Lady's stance against cancer. Cervical cancer occurs at the mouth of the womb. It is caused by the human papillomavirus, which is usually sexually transmitted.

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