Celebrating World Cancer Day 2021

Zimbabwe has an estimated 2,270 new cases of cervical cancer and 1,500 cervical cancer-related deaths. The prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) in women with cervical cancer in Zimbabwe is 79.6% (The Zimbabwe HPV and Related Diseases Summary report). Women living with HIV are disproportionately affected by cervical cancer. About 53% of women screened for cervical cancer in 2017 received treatment which far much below the program target of 65%. Although the knowledge of cervical cancer among women is high 79% only 13% had ever had a cervical cancer screening. Under the HIV Prevention Care Treatment and Support, ZACH aims to increase progress towards HIV epidemic control (new HIV infections fall below AIDS-related death) in Zimbabwe as well as cervical cancer screening and treatment of precancerous lesions among HIV Positive Women above 25years on ART at the mission and surrounding government health facilities.

ZACH has built capacity for a few mission hospitals to offer on-site treatment services for cervical cancer clients.

Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals (ZACH) with support from PEPFAR began offering VIAC services in October 2018. ZACH adopted 11 sites from UNFPA and expanded to 17 static and 58 outreach sites.

ZACH offers VIAC services to women living with HIV between the ages of 15 and 49 using the ‘see’ and ‘treat’ approach.   Existing treatment methods for the “see and treat” strategy include cryotherapy, loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), and thermocoagulation. Clients suspicious of cancer lesions are referred to the next level of care for biopsies.

To date, ZACH has screened over 12 000 women for cervical cancer, achieving 111 percent of its target. One of the beneficiaries Ms. Sarudzai Ndlovu from Makonde district shares her cervical cancer journey.

This year, the Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals Joins the World in Commemorating World Cancer Day under the theme I am and I will.