First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has asked women in the country to go for cervical cancer screening to reduce the death rate from the disease.
She said Malawi is registering increased numbers of women dying of cervical cancer because most of them do not go for screening and realise they have it only when the disease is at an advanced stage.
The First Lady was speaking at Chikoko Bay State Lodge in Mangochi when she hosted female civil servants to a luncheon aimed at raising awareness on the dangers of cervical cancer.
At least 700 female civil servants from the Eastern Region attended the meeting where,among other things, they received a health talk on cervical cancer and its dangers by a nurse from Thyolo District Hospital Judith Chimenya.
Mutharika said the meeting sought to sensitise women to the dangers of cervical cancer and to give them an opportunity to go for screening at readily available clinics that were mounted at the site.
“The Organisation of African First Ladies [Oafla] takes special interest in health matters that affect women and cervical cancer is one such diseases that should be given special attention in our quest to safeguard the lives of our women across the continent,” she said.
Mutharika also said the disease is curable if diagnosed early.
“It is, therefore, important for women to have an early screening to avoid death that would leave children and dependents helpless and hopeless,” she said.
Oafla-Malawi desk chairperson Chimwemwe Chipungu said the organisation is complementing government’s efforts in dealing with issues of safe motherhood in the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality by raising awareness on the prevention of HIV and Aids to reach the 90-90-90 targets.
“The interactive session by the First Lady seeks to bring together health experts to raise awareness on the dangers of cervical cancer and also where women can get healthcare and support from skilled workforce,” he disclosed.
During the meeting, women went for free cancer screening at facilities mounted by the Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM).