Gynaecologist and onco-surgeon George Chilinda has stressed that Malawi needs to intensify its efforts in combating cervical cancer.
In an exclusive interview with MBC Online, Chilinda, who is with MSF, said as it stands, Malawi has achieved a 45% coverage rate, falling short of the 75% target as spelled out by the Reproductive Health Directorate from 2008 when screening commenced.
Highlighting the importance of preventative measures, Chilinda advocates for the widespread distribution of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines among girls aged 9 to 14.
“While we acknowledge some progress, it’s evident that we have a long way to go…We must redouble our efforts and strive for excellence in our fight against cervical cancer,” he added.
This call to action coincides with the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital’s initiative in Blantyre of offering free cervical cancer screenings from February 5 to 9, 2024.
Speaking when Malawi observed World Cancer Awareness Day, which falls on February 04, Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda urged Malawians to opt for early detection of cancer and start embracing good lifestyles in communities in order to reduce risks associated with the disease.
“There is need for each and every person to be responsible for his or her body, let’s make sure that we go for check up and continue doing exercises since some of these cancers are avoidable,” she said.
Malawi is facing a significant burden, with an estimated 2,500 women succumbing to cervical cancer annually, making it the second-highest cause of cancer-related deaths in the country, trailing only behind Eswatini on the World-Scale.