The First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa has intensified cancer screening awareness campaigns with the number of people getting screened for the disease increasing threefold. The Ministry of Health and Child Care has also as a result increased its target for cancer screening from 100 000 to 200 000 this year, with over 60 000 having already been screened from January to date.
This came out during a visit by the First Lady to the Johane Masowe eChishanu in Highfield, Harare, where thousands were gathered.
The church is headed by Madzibaba Moses Gwasarira.
The First Lady's Angel of Hope Foundation also conducted cancer screening on the church members.
Addressing the congregation, the First Lady expressed concern that cancer was affecting mainly the able bodied and child bearing ages and this had a negative impact on the future of the nation.
She said the disease was not discriminatory as it could affect both men and women, but early detection could save lives.
"Zimbabwe is one of the countries affected by cancer. Cancer affects more people than HIV or tuberculosis. What pains me is that it mostly affects women of child bearing age between 35 and 49 years. If those ages die, Zimbabwe will cease to exist.
"We should have a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising and eating proper food. Mothers should prepare healthy foods for their families that include traditional food and fruits. Refined foods are not good for health," she said.
The First Lady also urged women to take advantage of the Women's Bank and apply for loans so they can start income generating projects.
"As women you should use your talents. You were given different talents by God. God loves people who work hard and he blesses the work of your hands," she said.
She urged young children to concentrate on their school work and advance themselves professionally and not to rush into marriage.
She also denounced child marriages, which she said affected the future of children
The Ministry of Health and Child Care's director for family health, Dr Bernard Madzima said Government was impressed with the overwhelming response by churches to cancer screening awareness campaigns.
"There has been an overwhelming response to the awareness campaigns. Since January, we have screened over 60 000 women, up from 15 000 who were screened during the same period last year. We have revised our national target figure to 200 000 this year.
"This is the third time we have gone to churches and apostolic sects respond quite well. We have engaged them and they are willing to get screened," he said.
Dr Madzima applauded the First Lady for her sterling efforts in cancer and child health care awareness campaigns through the Angel of Hope Foundation.
"The First Lady because of her passion for the promotion of health care and well-being of people is now the champion of not only cancer, but malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis and issues to do with nutrition.
"The First Lady has travelled countrywide through her awareness campaigns. She started with hospitals and now she is visiting churches with the same campaign," he said.
Madzibaba Moses said he felt humbled by the First Lady's visit to the church.
He said many people looked down upon members of the apostolic faith, but the First Lady found time from her busy schedule to spend the day with them.
"I never imagined the First lady could visit and spend the day with the members. I am so humbled by the respect she has shown to our church. I am confident that this will teach some churches that members of the apostolic sects are also human beings.
"You have been an exemplary mother. A mother does not discriminate against her children, but loves all of them despite their short comings and this is what you have showed us," he said.