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SRH Directorate Lacks Funds for Cervical Cancer Awareness

Sexual and Reproductive Health Directorate in the Ministry of Health says lack of funds for awareness campaigns is fueling to a low percentage of women who are willing to get screened of Cervical Cancer in the country especially in remote areas.

Several studies indicate that less than 15 percent of women between the age bracket of 25 to 49 go for cervical cancer screening despite the programme starting in 2004 as a pilot project in Mulanje district.

Chief Reproductive Health Officer in the department, Twambilire Phiri has told Zodiak that people in hard to reach areas have been discriminated with the messages as their department doesn't have a special budget for the exercise.

Phiri says their department depends on funding from donor organizations for such initiatives to be implemented.

"For us to conduct awareness campaigns in hard to reach areas is expensive. Unfortunately, we don't have a specific budget at our department for such exercises," said Phiri.

Programmes manager at White Ribbon Alliance, Eya Gondwe, says organizations have a responsibility in assisting government with funds, but has called for a revamped School health Initiative for girls to receive Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (PHV).

She has also called for a training to health workers on how to screen patients in the health centers.

"We have a responsibility to source funds to assist government in such exercises. It's unfortunate that the vaccine exercise in schools is no longer there. We should bring back that initiative to avoid the need for awareness campaigns," noted Gondwe.

According to several studies conducted between the 2015 to 2020, every year, over 2,300 women develop cervical cancer and over 1,600 die from the disease in Malawi.

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