–A cervical cancer survivour in Kapiri Mposhi district has implored the Ministry of Health to scale-up cervical cancer screening services to rural parts of the country.
Elizabeth Ngoma, 54, of Likumbi village in Chief Mukonchi’s area, said most women in rural areas were suffering and consequently dying of cervical cancer because of ignorance about the disease and lack of resources to move to the few health centres conducting screening for the viral disease in the country.
Mrs Ngoma, who tested positive to cervical cancer in 2012 and currently undergoing therapy at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka, told ZANIS that only Ngungu Community Health Center in Kabwe was offering static cervical cancer screening services in Central Province.
“Due to several factors, such as ignorance and poverty, most women in rural areas are silently suffering and dying of cervical cancer. They have no access to cancer screening services hence government should consider taking this service to them in rural areas,” Mrs Ngoma said.
Mrs Ngoma also prodded government to give urgency to the screening and treatment of cervical cancer considering its high prevalence rate amongst women in the country.
“So many women are dying silently without knowing. As for me I knew I had cancer by sheer accident so I do not want other women to take the same chances because it can be different with them,” Mrs Ngoma said.
She urged women to take advantage of any opportunity to screen for cervical cancer because the disease can be cured if detected early enough.
Cervical cancer is caused by a Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) and chances of recovery are higher in patients once the virus is found early.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Zambia is ranked first on the cervical cancer mortality rates with the disease accounting for about 39 per 100,000 deaths.