With the high number of women affected by cervical cancer in Zimbabwe, the Women and AIDS Support Network (WASN) recognizes the need to complement increased awareness to current government initiatives.
Cervical cancer kills more women in Zimbabwe than any other type of cancer. According to the 2016 Human Papilloma Virus center’s Zimbabwe report, 24.7% of women in Zimbabwe’s general population are estimated to be HPV positive. 17.7% of those women are estimated to be HIV positive. Despite these statistics and death rates, the response to its prominence in Zimbabwe remains a concern.
WASN is a women’s organisation that aims to contribute to improving sexual health and rights awareness of women in Zimbabwe. Under the banner of the Access to information campaign, the organisation will be engaging the Ministry of Health and Child Care to raise current efforts to improve women’s health seeking behavior like cervical cancer screening particularly in the rural areas.
“As WASN we saw the need to embark on this campaign after a snap survey during our outreach programmes that indicated that cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in late or at advanced stages. The reasons that we noted include lack of sufficient information on the free cancer screening at selected health centres, inadequate information on reproductive health care, and the cost of accessing early treatment.” said Anna-Colletor Penduka.
Through this information campaign, WASN intends to find out the current information raising activities that the ministry is currently undertaking. This, the organisation, hopes will enable womens organisations to support the ministry in improving responses to cervical cancer in the country.
WASN hope that the campaign will improve women and girls’ access to the health care facilities and services for cervical cancer screening that are not only available but and affordable .