By Anthony Bugembe
and Rebecca Harshbarger
THE health ministry plans to establish a mobile clinic to screen and treat cervical cancer. â€œIt is envisaged that the service will provide the much-needed screening and treatment, which should lead to the reduction in deaths related to cancer of the cervix,â€ health state minister Richard Nduhura said.
The ministry will partner with a local NGO, Save a Woman Initiative Uganda.
Nduhura made the revelation yesterday while addressing journalists on the forthcoming charity walk to raise awareness of cervical cancer. The walk, to be held on Saturday, will kickoff from Mulago Nursing School to the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.
Cervical cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). About 46 of every 10,000 women in the country suffers from cervical cancer.
Although the disease is treatable in the early stages, most women are diagnosed when the disease is in its advanced stages, which makes it difficult to treat.
The signs of advanced cervical cancer include abnormal discharge from the private parts, irregular menstrual bleeding, bleeding after sexual intercourse, as well as abdominal and back pain.
Emmanuel Mugisha, the PATH International country project manager, said the on-going HPV vaccine demonstration projects in Nakasongola and Ibanda districts were successful.
The campaign launched last year targets 10-year-old girls.
Mugisha said over 90% of the girls received three doses of the vaccine in Nakasongola.
â€œWe are now giving the third dose in Ibanda. We shall repeat the vaccination this year with another group of girls in the two districts,â€ he said.
Olive Sentumbwe, from the World Health Organisation, noted that every sexually active woman risks contracting cervical cancer.
â€œEngaging in early sex continuously, when the uterus is not well-developed increases the risk of developing cervical cancer 10 to 15 years later. About 24% of girls are sexually active by the age of 18,â€ she said.
Health experts have urged women who are sexually-active to go for screening.
Clinics that offer this service include Mulago, Nsambya, Masaka and Mbarara hospitals, Kampala Dispensary on Nkurumah Road, Kawempe Health Centre and the Mildmay Centre on Entebbe Road.