VIAC screening, a milestone for Epworth women

Epworth women have applauded the Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Cerviography (VIAC) method of testing cervical cancer saying that the program comes at a very cheap cost.

VIAC which is a faster and more efficient method of testing for cervical cancer involves taking pictures of the cervix. Diagnosis is instant and treatment is also prescribed immediately.

The program is one of the many efforts that are meant to cut short the current cervical cancer plague which is robbing the nation of many capable women.

The programme which has extended to marginalised areas after being introduced in major cities has been embraced by women in remote areas, raising hope for reduction of deaths caused by cervical cancer.

Women who spoke to 263Chat said they voluntarily got screened because the programme was for free.

“We are happy that the program has reached our area.  We used to hear about the program on the radio and now we do not have to travel to provincial hospitals to get screened,” said Alice Mandizvidza from Epworth.

Private health centres charge up to US$500.00 for cervical cancer screening and women in marginalised areas cannot afford these charges thereby utilizing this free initiative to be screened for cancer.

Beauty Alfasi who spoke with 263Chat soon after being screened in Epworth Overspill clinic in Epworth expressed her enthusiasm over the program.

“I am happy that I have been checked for cancer and it feels so good that I now know where I am.

“I decided to get screened because the programmme is being done for free and the clinic is closer to my home and there is no reason to miss this opportunity,” said Alfasi.

Research indicates that close to 500,000 women globally develop cervical cancer annually and about 75% of this population is said to be from developing countries of which Zimbabwe is not an exception.

The programmme was introduced against a background of the huge challenge in the treatment of non-communicable diseases that affect women increasing at an alarming rate. Cervical cancer, accounting for a third of all cancers, tops the list.

Sister in charge at Epworth Overspill Clinic, Evelyn Chikumbirike said more than 378 women per month were coming for the VIAC clinic.

“Last month we screened 380 women from the area.

“This is a significant number bearing in mind that the program was recently introduced in Epworth,” said Chikumbirike.

According to statistics by the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ), over 1, 800 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 1, 500 die from the disease every year.

CAZ Health Service Manager Patience Nyemba, confirmed that women in marginalised areas welcomed the VIAC program.

“Basing on the statistics which were presented to us, I can confirm that there are improvements in the number of women being screened for cervical cancer in marginalised areas,” she said.

VIAC was introduced as a result of the need to Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

This is a positive move that will see the country reversing the spread of major diseases by 2015.

Photo creditwww.ipsnews.net

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