Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting Ugandan women, according to the UN World Health Organization, which reports that every year, 3,577 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 2,464 die from the disease.
A free medical camp organized at Bulambuli District headquarters to screen cervical cancer cases registered an overwhelming turn up of women at the weekend.
Over 500 women who turned up were screened, counseled and treated during the exercise which was jointly organized by Mulago and Nsambya Hospitals through Eng. Irene Muloni, the state Minister for Energy. Muloni is also the woman Member of Parliament for Bulambuli district.
Dr. Muhammad Mulongo, the Bulambuli District Health Officer, said the exercise registered an overwhelming turn-up of clients especially the elderly.
He said of those who were screened, at least three tested positive. Dr. Mulongo said the three women were referred to Mbale Regional Referral Hospitals for quick medical attention and management.
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One of the women, 41-year-old Phoebe Nakesa says she was not aware of her medical condition until she tested and found positive. She explains that she started experiencing unusual itching in her private parts after her fifth delivery in 2010.
She narrates that in January 2013 when she delivered her sixth child, she began noticing an on-and-off sharp pain in her pelvis with sudden bleeding in between her periods. She said that when the pain and bleeding did not stop, she suspected something was wrong. She described the medical camp as life-saving.
Nakesa is however scared of the cost of treatment which she says she is unable to meet. According to Dr. Mulongo, treating cervical cancer in private medical units does not cost less than 10 million shillings.
Irene Muloni, expressed joy for the turn-up. She says most women in the region are ignorant of such ailments something she says need serious government’s attention.
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Muloni says in Bugisu, most women who have cervical cancer ignore the ailment considering it to be a mere wound, which she says need serious sensitization among the women.
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Uganda has only 35 cryo therapy machines, with 15 machines in 14 government referral hospitals and one health centre 4 in Nakasongola, according to Dr. Collins Tusingwire, Acting Commissioner for Health Services in the Ministry of Health.
Cryo therapy machines are machines used for early detection of cancerous cells.
Zach Akinyemi, the Programme for Accessible Health Communication and Education (PACE) Executive Director, said last October that a total of 20 cryo therapy machines were given to 20 private health centers on the ProFam network in different parts of the country.
Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting Ugandan women, according to the UN World Health Organization, which reports that every year 3,577 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 2,464 die from the disease.
The report indicates that about 33.6 percent of women in the general population are estimated to harbour cervical human papillomavirus infection - the main cause of cervical cancer - at any given time.