Miss Culture Malawi Memory Sanjila has been appointed as the Cervical Cancer Awareness ambassador for Community of Sant’Egidio.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Community of Sant’ Egidio Sangare Hawa Mamary said Malawi is number two in the world when it comes to deaths among women due to cervical cancer.
“This is mainly due to lack of awareness. Cervical cancer is very preventable and treatable as long as it is detected early,” she said.
Mamary said this is where Miss Culture Malawi comes in to help raise awareness, especially among women in rural areas.
“We have a culture of avoiding hospital check-ups and it is even worse when it comes to vaccines and cancer screening. This is now the duty of Miss Culture Malawi to reach out to women and girls and convince them on the importance of cancer vaccines and screening,” she said.
On her part, Sanjila said as a young woman herself, she is devoted to help raise awareness on cervical cancer which she said is posing a threat to the future of girls and women if not detected early or avoided through vaccines.
“It is a great honour and I will carry out my duties with pride. As a country, we need to reach out to women in the rural areas so that they understand how we can all play a part. I will also reach out to men so that they too are supportive and are on board,” she said.
Sanjila, who said she lost her father to cancer in 2015, said she will help raise awareness using her influence as a beauty queen for girls to get a cervical cancer vaccine and for women to be screened regularly.
On his part, Community of Sant’Egidio director of finance and administration Mathambo Lowole said they settled for Miss Culture Malawi since she is already someone well versed with some of the cultures in Malawi that are perpetuating cervical cancer.
“She is best-placed to raise awareness on the disease since she is a culture enthusiast. She will have the best approach that will not only promote acceptance, but also make sure that we are not disregarding our culture,” he said.
According to statistics, Malawi registers over 400 000 new cases of cervical cancer every year with at least 295 000 deaths every year due to the disease.