Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that Malawi is losing up to 2 000 women to cervical cancer every year, with more than 4 000 new cases registered annually, this is alarming.
Cervical cancer, which accounts for 45 percent of all cancer cases, is the number one killer among all cancers in women in the country.
All women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women above the age of 30. Long-lasting infection with certain types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer.
HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sex. At least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but few women will get cervical cancer.
It is worrisome that cervical cancer, which is the easiest to prevent, is killing a lot of women who could have been productively contributing to the development of the country.
It has also transpired that most of the affected women are from rural areas owing to lack of awareness and poor access to health services.
This is why we commend the doctors who have given a grimmer of hope to such women.
The doctors, under Chatinkha Maternity Care (Chamaca) support, have dedicated themselves to fighting cervical cancer through screening women in hard-to-reach areas. They target to screen more than 500 000 women across the country.
The doctors are concerned that the country continues to lose productive women to cervical cancer, which they say is manageable if detected early.
However, these efforts are of no significance if we, the women, are not interested in the screening. It is up to us to seize the opportunity and patronise these services.
Any woman above 25 is supposed to get screened for cervical cancer and it should be a routine every three years.
Once cancer is detected early, it also helps medical personnel to help the patient satisfactorily.
We have heard stories of women who have died because the cancer was diagnosed late. Regrettably, some had wasted their time and resources seeking help from traditional healers and by the time they decided to go to the hospital, it was too late.
Some women have suffered for years without knowing the cause of their problem while some have lost hope and given up on life.
We do not want this to continue. Besides the efforts by the doctors to screen women in rural areas, there are a lot of hospitals, both private and public, that are doing the same.
According to Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda, Malawi has about 311 public health facilities offering cervical cancer screening.
Government also plans to construct more health facilities and train more healthcare workers in cervical cancer screening.
Be exemplary, get screened and encourage relatives and friends to do the same. Together we can beat cervical cancer.
Enjoy the rest of the week.