Christmas came early for the people of Uzumba Maramba-Pfungwe who came in their thousands yesterday for an interactive meeting with First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, who is concerned about their well-being. There was everything for everyone at the special meeting where expecting mothers received baby preparation sets, while the elderly received an assortment of foodstuffs that included cooking oil, rice and sugar among other goodies, courtesy of Amai Mnangagwa.
The First Lady, who is also the country’s health ambassador, also came with an Angel of Hope Foundation mobile clinic and health experts who screened both men and women for cancer as she ensures cases of people dying due to the late detection of diseases and inability to meet treatment costs decline.
The First Lady’s visit coincided with the current breast cancer awareness month.
Cervical cancer and breast cancer are the two types of cancers that mostly affect women, while men are mostly affected by prostate cancer. The First Lady expressed dismay that people were succumbing to ailments that are treatable owing to lack of knowledge.
She said most people sought help when the damage would have already been done.
The loss of people through diseases, the First Lady said, was pushing backwards ongoing efforts to rebuild the economy.
She spoke at length about the various types of cancer which affect men and women.
“From today, we should be sure everyone has received information and been enlightened about cervical, breast and prostate cancer. Girls should be vaccinated against Human Papiloma Virus (HPV). This programme started in May last year, countrywide.
“The more we talk about cancer screening, the more people get to know about the silent killer and if one is checked early, it can be treated,” she said.
The First Lady said Zimbabwe was among the top 10 countries in the world with people affected by cancer adding that according to statistics, 3 000 people are treated for cancer at local hospitals while 1 500 deaths are recorded yearly.
The First Lady said efforts were being made by Government to ensure medicines were readily available in hospitals, adding that President Mnangagwa was making efforts on re-engagement with the international community.
She attributed the current economic situation in the country to sanctions and urged people to come out in their numbers to march against sanctions on October 25.
She said the sanctions were causing untold suffering in the country and that they have also retarded economic progress.
The First Lady also thanked countries in the SADC region for standing with Zimbabwe in the fight against sanctions.
Amai Mnangagwa also told the gathering that she was dismayed places like rural Kariba were still battling infections like bilharzia which she said over 15 percent of that areas’s population was affected.
She further urged the people of Uzumba to get checked also for bilharzia.
The First Lady encouraged couples to be faithful to one another to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
The Angel of Hope Foundation patron also became an aunt to the girl child, advising them on the dangers of early marriages adding that parents who were marrying off their girls before age should stop forthwith or else the law would catch up with them.
She paid tribute to various organisations that Government has partnered in the fight against cancer, which include UNFPA, World Health Organisation, National Aids council, among many others.
The Minister of State for Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs and Devolution Apolonia Munzverengwi thanked the First Lady for remembering the people of Uzumba Maramba-Pfungwe District adding that her visit would will go a long way in solving some the challenges the province was facing especially in the health area.
“There have been a marked rise of people getting screened in the province and these are the footmarks of your generous efforts. Amai your mobile cancer screening initiative is a most welcome development in our province and the country at large,” she said.
A 92-year-old woman, Tazvinzwa Madzinga, thanked the First Lady for the groceries saying she had run out of basics to feed her eight grandchildren.