Free cancer check ups: Makone

The chairperson of MDC-T’s Women Assembly has called on the government to introduce free-of-charge check-ups for cervical cancer.

Theresa Makone
Theresa Makone

Theresa Makone, who is also Home Affairs minister, said the cost of Pap smear tests was prohibitive for most women. According to the National Cancer Registry Association of Zimbabwe, 7,000 women are diagnosed with cancer annually.

Makone suggested the government conduct a review of the effectiveness and efficiency of the current anti-cervical cancer programme, saying that at present only women from well-to-do families were able to afford the vaccine.

“The MDC Women’s Assembly calls on the government to facilitate free Pap smear screening to ensure that women of Zimbabwe can access intervention treatments in time. This will enable them to make informed decisions,” Makone said.

The call by Makone comes as Vice President Joice Mujuru last week launched a breast cancer screening centre at the Parirenyatwa Hospital. The screening charge is still prohibitive at $40.

“For the programme to succeed, the government should endeavour to cut costs of breast cancer screening and shall in future move to scrap the costs once our economy improves,” Mujuru said at the launch. Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in Zimbabwe, closely followed by cervical cancer.

Makone said the conspiracy of silence on sex and sexuality affected access to information and sharing on matters affecting sexual and reproductive health for both men and women in Zimbabwe.

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