By Lovemore Chazingwa in Kadoma
Reproductive and family health utility institution, National Aids Council (NAC), yesterday rekindled efforts on free cancer screening, HIV testing and family planning interventions, at Ground Number 4, for City of Kadoma population, with the main focus on female residents, it is established.
The exercise was conducted in strong partnership with a private family health giant Population Services Zimbabwe (PSZ), a subsidiary of Population Services International (PSI). PSZ is also an affiliate of Marie Stopes International.
The local population services arm, PSZ, is offering free family planning services under the outreach, driven by their catch phrase ‘Children by choice not by chance’.
Some of the family planning interventions that PSZ has on offer include jadelle, implanon, depo-provera, condoms, inter-uterine contraceptive device (IUCD) and oral contraceptive pill.
Sanyati District NAC Co-ordinator Virginia Tausa is impressed by the program and hopes it spreads out to hard to reach populations: “We’ve embarked on this outreach program as NAC Sanyati District in the month of October when we commemorate patients suffering from cancer and those who have succumbed to it.
“We’re conducting breast and cervical cancer screening. Our partner PSZ is offering free family planning services.
“The main purpose is to create awareness about the dangers of cancer, how it is contracted and ways in which it can be prevented.”
The NAC Sanyati District head co-ordinator is also upbeat about the community response.
“So far the response is good. People are coming to access our services. We’re already attending to females who came early to take advantage of this exercise. Testing kits are coming from Rimuka Clinic, which is helpful in this cause.
“Otherwise, these services are costly. Where they are offered for free, they tend to be difficult to access, resulting in most women deprived. For instance, in the case of jadelle, one pays separately for its insertion and removal which puts off a good number of potential users. Cervical cancer screening is free but, difficult to access.
“On our part, this is only the beginning. We will be moving to other parts of the district like Sanyati Growth Point (Tiriko), Sachuru and Ngezi (Mhondoro). Areas such as Sachuru have hard to reach populations but we will go there to make them benefit also.
“Next week beginning Monday (tomorrow), up to Friday, we will be at Ngezi Clinic, (Turf), offering the same services free of charge.” explained Tausa immediately shifting her attention to NAC staff and a host of other officials eagerly waiting by the wings.
First Lady, Amai Auxillia Manangagwa has thrown her weight to the fight against cervical cancer. As the country’s Health Ambassador, she advocates free cervical cancer screening and a host of other reproductive health facilities to be offered without charge at public health institutions for mothers.
Speaking to a ZTV news crew as the nation commemorates cancer month, Saturday, Amai Mnangagwa opined that early detection of cancer helps in cutting the cost of treatment of the killer disease.
Shylet Mpofu (32), who accessed jadelle at the NAC organised outreach, said she was happy to be one of the beneficiaries of the program: “I managed to have 5 year jadelle for my family planning method. The service we’re getting for free here is rather expensive at local health institutions, worse still, private ones. I normally access these kind of services at my rural home mission hospital where it is much cheaper and facilities are somewhat better.
“I’ve realised that most women do not give due care to their reproductive health. It is important to access reproductive facilities, especially in current times where sexual activity has an early debut among girls and (boys) compared to times yesteryear.”
“Here, if you’re found with complications during this outreach, one is recommended to go for further examination at higher level health institutions like the general or district hospital. As for me, after the process, l will go for review at Rimuka Clinic on November 13, that’s three weeks later. Its not my first time to be part of these programs. I always want to be aware of my health status, only funds deter me,” she said with a shy smile before walking back to her seat.
Females from local suburbs and beyond accessed reproductive health interventions in the form of breast and cervical cancer screening, VIAC, HIV testing and family planning methods. PSZ staff did a good job, interrogating participants on their knowledge and use of facilities at hand. They did it in roadshow style with those who responded getting token prizes as a way to encourage participation in family health programs.
Nyaradzo Life Assurance Company (NLACO) got a fertile opportunity to impart knowledge about as well as market their products at their stand manned by sales representative Mary Chirombe.
NLACO provided worthy support for a healthy cause. The company is making international strides in service provision under the life assurance template.