Gambia: 'Every Sexually Active Woman Should Be Screened for Cervical Cancer'

Frances Ndiaye, head nurse at the SOS Mother and Child Clinic has said that every woman that is sexually active should be screened to prevent Cervical Cancer.

Madam Ndiaye made these remarks on Sunday 13 June 2021 at Hella Kunda in the Upper River Region as part of the 12-day "I Am for Zero" campaign by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and its partners which seeks to promote the realisation of the agency's three transformative results: zero unmet need for family planning; zero preventable maternal death; and zero Gender-Based Violence and harmful practices.

The campaign aims at finishing the unfinished business in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender-Based Violence specifically targeting women, men, adolescents and young people in hard-to-reach communities in Central River Region North, the Baddibus in the North Bank Region and the Wuli or Fatoto areas in the Upper River Region.

In addition to the provision of free Cervical Cancer information and screening services, Madam Ndiaye added that the SOS Mother and Child Clinic as part of its contribution to the 'I am for Zero' campaign is also treating women with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in the target communities.

Having sighted some positive Cervical Cancer which emerged as a result of the screening in communities, she advised the women to get screened regularly in order to protect themselves and ensure early detection for treatment.

Ramou Sonko, Programme Analyst - Gender and Gender-Based Violence at UNFPA, said not every woman will have the opportunity to screen for Cervical Cancer in their lifetime and therefore urged community members to come out in their numbers to be screened for free as well as get medical advice.

"Take this opportunity to help yourself and help your family by getting better health and wellbeing," she urged communities that are meant to benefit from the campaign.

Mariama Camara, a parent who was screened and tested negative said she was pleased to know her status. She advised her fellow women to go for screening and testing in order to also know their statuses. She thanked UNFPA and partners for the laudable initiative.

The 'I am for Zero' campaign employs a multi-disease approach as an entry-point to promote Sexual and Reproductive Health and address Gender-Based Violence. The activities under the campaign in communities include Cervical Cancer screening, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, provision of Family Planning services and information and community engagements, among others.

Within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaigners also engaged communities through risk communication and community engagement discussions especially in dispelling myths, misconceptions and misinformation around the uptake of vaccines and encouraged community residents to be vaccinated.

The 'I am for Zero' campaign is one initiative through which UNFPA is working with its partners to champion the promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and the eradication of Gender-Based Violence by reaching those furthest with information and services. For over four decades now, the agency has been supporting the government and people of The Gambia to ensure healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries and the empowerment of youth and adolescents in all parts of the country.

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