Bill Gates Support For Fight Against Cancer Among Women

By Hilda Mhagama

AS cases of cervical cancer increase, screening services with existing family planning clinics can increase access to the services and treatment.

Marie Stopes Tanzania Country Director, Anil Tambay, made the remarks in Dar es Salaam yesterday to mark the end of the Bill and Melinda Gates cervical cancer screening and preventative therapy project.

Photo: Seth Wenig / Associated Press
Photo: Seth Wenig / Associated Press

Mr Tambay said family planning programmes were “natural entry points” for prevention programmes because the target group for cervical cancer screening are the same as the target group for family planning services

“Family planning integration is an overwhelmingly positive strategy, but it requires robust supervision and logistics systems,” he said.

However, he acknowledged, there were operational challenges, such as fragmented funding structures, the need for increased coordination among clinics, and the regular training and supervision of clinical service providers.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded this project in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria to implement cervical cancer screening and Preventive therapy via reproductive health Networks from November 2012 to October 2017.

 In Tanzania, the project is being implemented by the Marie Stopes Tanzania, Population Services International (PSI) and Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI).

He said more than 187,263 women were screened in a period of 23 months in the country, among them 7,783 were found positive and 7,602 underwent cryotherapy.

Assistant Director for reproductive and child health section in the ministry of health, community development, gender, elderly and children, Dr Hussein kidanto, said cervical cancer was a major public health problem in Tanzania.

“Many experts would agree that the high burden of disease and low survival rate among women with cervical cancer in the country is attributed to late disease presentation, diagnosis and delay in treatment,” he said.

Dr Kidanto said currently there were 466 facilities providing cervical cancer screening and treatment services, this includes all regional, district hospitals, some health centres as well as some of dispensaries.

He further said cervical cancer could be prevented simply by raising public awareness, vaccinating adolescent girls aged 9-13 years against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical cancer and screening women who are sexually active for cervical at least once every three years.


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