New Zimbabwe.com

Call to extend working hours for cervical cancer screening staff

By Robert Tapfumaneyi


THE National Aids Council (NAC) have urged health institutions that are offering cervical cancer screening to extend their services to periods beyond official working hours and public holidays.

Most profesional women, it has been observed, despite being knowledgeable about the dangers of the disease, do not have time to seek health services as they will be ‘busy’ in offices.

“Offering the service on holidays will give the professional women time to attend the cervical cancer screening service,” NAC communications manager Tadiwa Pfukwa told NewZImbabwe.com Tuesday in Macheke.

Pfukwa said they were offering HIV testing and counselling and cancer screening services.

“We have realised that most service providers for VIAC (Visual inspection with Acetic Acid and Cerviography (VIAC) operate between 8 am and 5 pm and this is the same time that most professional women are at work so they don’t get to access the services.”

“Because if one is not feeling sick or have not identified any symptoms related to cancer they rarely think of the need to go to and get tested.”

“So if we could have institutions offering those services after hours to allow more professional women to access the services because.

“But because they don’t get the time and also because of economic challenges, people are just busy chasing the dollar every free time that…”

Pfukwa said early detection could be achieved by conducting regular screening to identify symptoms.

Despite the wide spread availability of cervical cancer prevention and screening programmes, the morbidity and mortality rates of cervical cancer are still high in the country.

The government on the one hand through the health ministry is also offering Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Camera [VIAC] screening with an option to treat potential cancerous cells if detected.

To date over 300 000 women have been screened and this is just 10% of the target of three million women by 2020.