It has been reported that roughly 2,270 women in Zimbabwe are diagnosed with cervical cancer yearly, this makes it the most common cancer among women. However, because HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, and as such carries a high degree of social stigma, women often fail to seek medical advice until it is too late. Screening, diagnosis and treatment services are predominantly limited to larger cities and as a result of this, three-quarters of women in Zimbabwe with cervical cancer seek treatment late.
In a bid to cut the country’s increasing rate of cervical cancer, more than 800,000 girls in Zimbabwe will be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus. The country’s first lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa, on announcing the rollout stated,”This is an important event for Zimbabwe for improving women’s health.” “Zimbabwe is highly burdened with cervical cancer and the mortality rate of 64% has to be reversed. Today we are dealing a blow against cervical cancer.” The vaccine will be funded by the Zimbabwean government and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, which has secured an affordable, sustainable supply of HPV vaccines at $4.50 a dose. This makes Zimbabwe the eighth African country to introduce the HPV vaccine into its routine immunisation programme, among other countries such as Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa and Uganda.
Top 6 measures that can be used in the prevention of cervical cancer are:
- Regular Pap tests
- HPV Tests/ vaccination
- Work to keep your weight healthy
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Do Not use birth control pills for an extended time (if that fits your family planning)
- Do Not smoke. Smokers are twice as likely to get cervical cancer