Speaking to women in Dar es Salaam as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations at the weekend, the Vice President emphasized the importance of women being concerned, not only with business, but also their own health because cervical cancer was a leading cause of death among women in Tanzania.
“I understand that most of you do not want to go for cervical cancer screening because you’re afraid of the procedure.
However, Marie Stopes Tanzania have made things easier by coming up with an easier procedure where a woman can draw a sample herself rather than depend on a doctor.
So if you have reached the age of 30 and above, please go out there and get screened,” she appealed.
Speaking to the VP during her visit to the MST screening site at the event, the programme manager for Marie Stopes Tanzania (MST), Dr Jeremiah Makula, gave a detailed explanation on the procedure.
“We are using the HPV/DNA screening system where the client extracts the sample on her own using a soft brush and brings specimen back to us.
We take the samples to the lab for investigation in order to identify those which require preventative therapy to thwart the cancer before it develops,” he explained.
The event, which was held at King Solomon Hall in Dar es Salaam, was attended by a number of influential women, ambassadors and their wives, women organisations and women entrepreneurs.
MST offered free family planning services as well as cervical cancer screening to all at the event as part of their commitment to this year’s International Women’s Day theme: “Pledge for Parity.”
“Our pledge at MST is that all Tanzanian women should have access to accurate information and high quality sexual and reproductive health services.
So, we are delighted to offer free family planning services without any consultation fee at all our clinics throughout the week,” explained Dr Makula.
Tanzania suffers one of the highest cervical cancer burdens in the world and the highest in Eastern Africa.
According to the 2011 survey, 80 per cent of women diagnosed with cervical cancer died within five years of their diagnosis. The low survival rate was frequently attributed to the late stage at which the cancer was first diagnosed.
The problem is compounded by prevalence of HIV/Aids.