Latest World Health Organization (WHO) report indicates that Malawi is making a remarkable progress in the fight against cervical cancer, one of the killer diseases among women across the world.
The development has excited Women’s Coalition Against Cancer (WOCACA) in Malawi – a local non-governmental organization founded by women and girls who have been directly or indirectly affected by cancer.
WOCACA Executive Director Maud Mwakasungula, in a statement issued on the commemoration of Eliminatoin of Cervical Cancer Day on November 17 this year, said the progress Malawi has made in fighting the disease is a testament to the country’s collective dedication to eliminating cervical cancer as a public health issue.
“The journey began in 2018 when the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called upon the world to take action to prevent, detect, and treat cervical cancer. In 2020, WHO’s Member States responded by adopting the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer.
“Since then, Malawi, along with the global community, has demonstrated strong commitment to this cause. As a country we have made substantial progress in the three pillars of the strategy namely, HPV Vaccination, Screening: and Access to Treatment,” reads the statement in part.
Mwakasungula further states that as a country, Malawi has to ensure that 90 percent of the girls should be fully vaccinated with the HPV Vaccine by the 15 and they have also made substantial progress with screening, but the requirement is that we achieve 70 percent screening using high performance tests from ages 25 to 50 years of age.
She, however, stressed that as they celebrate these achievements, Malawians need to renew their commitment to the noble cause.
“This day is an opportunity to reflect on our progress, identify challenges, and showcase innovative approaches that have shaped our journey. We also share the stories of women who have faced cervical cancer. Their experiences remind us of the urgency of our mission and drive us to leave no woman behind.
As part of this day of action, we aim to strengthen strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts tailored to our country’s needs. We aspire to inspire the creation of country elimination roadmaps, ensuring that every woman is protected,” she said.
“Cervical cancer elimination is not just an aspiration; it is an attainable goal. With determination, innovation, and collaboration, we can make cervical cancer history in Malawi and worldwide. Let us stand united, celebrate our successes, and redouble our efforts to ensure a healthier future for all women and girls,” concluded Mwakasungula.
WOCACA was established with the recognition that cancer, particularly reproductive cancers, is one of the leading causes of death among women and girls in Malawi and across Africa.
In Malawi, rural women and girls are particularly vulnerable to the burden of cancer due to limited access to healthcare services and information.
WOCACA acknowledges this disparity and aims to address it by focusing on raising awareness, providing education, advocating for improved access to healthcare services, and offering support to those affected.
By being founded and led by individuals who have personal experiences with cancer, WOCACA brings a unique perspective and understanding to its work.
The organization is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of rural women and girls, ensuring that they have the support, and knowledge necessary to prevent, detect, and manage cancer effectively.