Cervical Cancer Awareness
The Western Cape Department of Health has identified cervical cancer screening as its most significant deliverable to form part of the Provincial Government's Siyabulela Deliverables. Premier Rasool has called for targets for service delivery for women to be met to coincide with National Woman's month. The Department of Health will reach its goal to do 24 500 screenings before the end of August 2006.
"Cancer of the cervix is the most common cancer among South African women who have a one in 41 chance of developing the disease in her lifetime, " Minister Uys said. "We offer free screening at most of our primary health clinics and our nurses are well trained to do the very simple test, " he said. He cited smoking as one of the causes of cervical cancer and said there is evidence that women who smoke are more susceptible to cervical cancer than women who do not smoke.
Cervical cancer most commonly develops in women over the age of 30 and regular screening (pap smears) is an effective method of preventing cancerous development through early detection. The Provincial Department of Health's goal is to screen 10% of the target group (women over 30 years) per year by 2010. 5.6% ( 45,000 ) of the target group was screened during 2005/06. The target for 2006/07 is 6.5% ( 47 828 )
The Department's aim is to meet the screening targets through:
- Sustained marketing of the service including public education and awareness programmes toward primary prevention, service uptake and follow through and improved availability of quality and culturally sensitive information, education and communication materials.
- Improved provision of resources: equipment, facilities (privacy, lighting) and well trained staff, to enhance: understanding of the policy, motivation, quality of smears, interpretation of results, record-keeping and communication - follow up with clients and between colposcopy/treatment services.
- Identification of a trained person per facility to drive implementation.
The Directorate Communications
Office of the Superintendent of Health, Western Cape
Department of Health
Tel: 021 483 3235
Herman van der Westhuizen
Media Liaison Officer to the Minister of Health
Tel: 021 483 2627