Debra Matabvu, Harare Bureau
FIRST Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa has revealed that she will soon embark on a countrywide awareness campaign in churches to encourage women to undergo cancer screening.
Addressing congregates at the Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church Passover conference in Hwedza yesterday, Amai Mnangagwa implored churches to take a leading role in fighting cancer to reduce deaths caused by the disease.
The First Lady said, “ I have come to you as a mother to discuss and share about the deadly disease called cancer, iyo isingashare kuti nhingi mutendi kana kuti muhedheni, uye isingatarise gender kuti uyu mukadzi kana kuti murume or mudiki kana mukuru.
“Most of the risk factors for cancer are associated with life choices that we make such as consuming unhealthy foods and not taking enough vegetables and fruits. Young people are engaging in drug and alcohol abuse, which are some of the factors contributing to cancer. We need the church to help us teach the young people about the dangers of smoking and alcohol abuse. We will not be able to win the fight without the church on our side.”
Church leader, Bishop Tadeu Mugodhi, encouraged female congregates in the church to take heed of the First Lady’s call for cancer screening. He also thanked Amai Mnangagwa for her dedication on the fight against cancer.
Speaking at the same occasion, family health director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Bernard Madzima said Government is also prioritising prostate cancer screening.
“These three cancers (breast, cervical and prostate) are the leading types of cancer in Zimbabwe. Therefore before year end, screening of these cancers will be prioritized in all our screening programmes such as these ones.”
Over 21 000 women have undergone cervical cancer screening since February this year, courtesy of the First Lady’s countrywide awareness campaigns. According to the National Cancer Registry, the cancer burden continues to increase, claiming an estimated 4 000 lives each year, with 60 percent of the cases related to HIV.
The First Lady also donated two tonnes of rice to the church’s orphanage and pledged to drill a borehole at the church’s headquarters in Hwedza. She encouraged the members to apply for state land for church activities and farming.