The Chatinkha Maternity Care (Chamaca) support says it requires over K40 million to meet its target of providing cancer screening to 500 000 rural women nationwide.
Speaking during a high-level fundraising dinner and dance in Blantyre on Saturday, Chamaca chairperson Professor Frank Taulo, a gynaecologist, said they target women in hard-to-reach areas because that is the group mostly affected by cervical cancer due to poor access to medical care.
He said: “We need more financial support to cater for transport expenses, medical equipment to use in the screening, pay the staff we work with and diagnosis expenses for cancer tissues, among others.”
Taulo said based on current projections, Malawi has 18 000 cancer cases, out of which 8 000 are cervical cancer.
The dinner and dance was attended by First Lady Monica Chakwera and some Cabinet ministers, including Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda, Minister of Gender, Social Welfare and Community Development Patricia Kaliati and Deputy Minister of Lands, who is also Chamaca patron, Abida Mia.
In her speech, the First Lady commended the Chamaca team and various donors for their dedication to the welfare of women in the country.
She said: “We have learnt that screening can reduce cervical cancer by 80 percent, it is important to encourage and mobilise more women to go for screening as a preventative measure, that way Chamaca’s efforts will yield results.”
K24 million was raised during the event, out of which the First Lady donated K1.5 million.
On her part, Chiponda expressed worry that cervical cancer is killing many women in the country despite being the easiest cancer to prevent.
Cervical cancer, which accounts for 45 percent of all cancer cases in Malawi, is the number one killer of all cancers in women.
Malawi loses up to 2 000 women to cervical cancer and registers 4 000 new cases annually.
Said Chiponda: “The women we are losing to cancer could have been productive and contributed towards the country’s development. This is why we encourage women to go for screening and get treatment if diagnosed early.”
She said Malawi has about 311 public health facilities offering cervical cancer screening, adding that government plans to construct more health facilities to promote primary health care.
“We are also training more healthcare workers who will be assisting people in their respective communities,” said Chiponda.
Mia vowed to promote awareness so that the lives of women are saved.
Chamaca earlier conducted two other fundraising activities, cycling and barber service from which they raised over K15 million.
They have so far provided the cervical cancer screening to over 600 women in Chikwawa and Nsanje.