By Watson Maingo
Cervical Cancer Prevention Coordinator, Valluli Kondowe has tipped Salima District Health Office (DHO) to increase access for cervical cancer testing for women in rural areas.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency on the side-lines of a Radio Debate on cervical cancer organised by Foundation for Community and Capacity Development (FOCCAD) in Salima this week, Kondowe said women need to be given more access to testing cervical cancer.
“For Salima DHO to reduce cases of cancer, the district needs to provide more access to testing. So far, we understand that testing is being done in almost all rural health facilities apart from the District Hospital.
“However, to reach women in the most rural areas, the DHO should start outreach clinics that will provide mobile cancer testing,” said Kondowe.
She said women in rural areas are denied the opportunity to test cervical cancer because of long distances to health facilities and shortage of trained service providers.
Reacting to the call, Salima DHO Spokesperson, Angela Nyongani said the proposal to include cervical cancer screening in outreach clinics was welcome.
“That idea is good, we just need to strategise on how we can coordinate and make use of the available service providers,” said Nyongani.
Nyongani further explained that currently, the DHO has increased the number of days for cancer screening at the district hospital from one day to five days per week.
“We used to provide services only once a week, but now we have increased to five days per week, giving the women more opportunity to access screening services,” said Nyongani.
She said the DHO has 17 providers while all the 15 health centres in Salima have at least one provider.
During the debate, it was reported that with support from FOCCAD the district screened 1200 women of which 29 tested positive.