Medical experts are sounding an alarm following revelations that nearly 3,000 women in the country die due to cervical cancer every year, putting the country at the highest cervical cancer prevalence rate in the world.
Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) disclosed this during an engagement meeting with journalists in Blantyre. MSF says about 20,000 women are screened annually, out of which, about 4,000 are diagnosed.
According to Marion Perchayre, head of mission to Malawi at MSF, the country has the highest prevalence rate of cervical cancer in the whole world. Speaking to MIJ Online, Perchayre attributed this to a number of factors including; a high Human Papilloma Virus prevalence rate and high HIV prevalence rate- and also the low number of women who are reached with screening.
Meanwhile, George Chilinda, Gyneoncosurgeon at MSF in Malawi has said inadequate specialist doctors in public health facilities are impeding the efforts aimed at treating cervical cancer patients.
According to him, there are at least three doctors who are trained to treat such patients in these hospitals. "In Mzuzu there's none, in Lilongwe, there's one and in Blantyre, there are at least two. These are the very few doctors we have in public health facilities, " he said.
The Gyneoncosurgeon has since made an appeal to the authorities to ensure that government hospitals are providing radiotherapy treatment, saying that currently most patients are sent to other countries, including Kenya- to receive this kind of treatment.