Three million targeted for cancer screening

HARARE – At least three million people in Mashonaland West and Harare provinces will be able to access screening for cervical cancer after receiving equipment for early screening and treatment.

Kadoma General Hospital, Karoi District Hospital, the Giovanni Spagnolli Centre for the Promotion of Women (Harare), the Kariba-Siavonga and Chegutu District Hospitals as well as St. Rupert’s and Chidamoyo Mission Hospitals received the donation.

The donation was made recently at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital by the Italian provincial government of Trento and Lifeline Dolomites.

This marked the launch of a three-year health sector capacity building programme that is worth over $460 000.

Prior to this donation, the screening and treatment of carcinoma of the cervix was limited to the country’s central and provincial hospitals.

Timothy Stamps, the health sector advisor to the President and Cabinet, said the Health ministry believes in the collaborative thrust to health service provision and the donation from the Italian community was in line with government policy for the provision of health to all Zimbabweans.

Carlo Spagnolli, Lifeline Dolomite’s coordinator in Zimbabwe, said the project was borne out of friendship and was in line with government policy as it is set to reduce the number of deaths that can be avoided through early screening.

“We hope to spread cancer treatment across the whole country as the medical personnel who will receive the training will not only become the implementing agents for the new programme, but will also train colleagues here in Zimbabwe,” said Spagnolli.

“This will strengthen capacity of the local health sector in a sustainable manner.”

The programme will also see the introduction of the PAP smear testing on a large scale for the first time in Zimbabwe.

Under the programme, the provincial government of Trento together with Lifeline Dolomite and programme partners from the Italian community will provide cervical cancer screening equipment, medication and training for 108 Zimbabwean medical personnel.

Cervical cancer is the biggest killer of Zimbabwean women with current estimates indicating that of a 100 cases of cancer, 32 cases are cervical cancer-related.

About 1 900 women are diagnosed with the disease every year in Zimbabwe and 1 300 die, according to the World Health Organisation.

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