Article abstract


Introduction: despite the wide-spread availability of cervical cancer prevention and screening programs in developed countries, the morbidity and mortality rates of cervical cancer in Zimbabwe are still very high. Limited resources as well as the high HIV prevalence are contributors to the high burden of cervical cancer. This paper aims to analyse the policies, frameworks and current practices in the management of cervical cancer in Zimbabwe.

 

Methods: a review of national documents and published literature on cervical cancer prevention, screening, treatment and knowledge in Zimbabwe was done. Informal interviews were conducted to assess the practices of cervical cancer management.

 

Results: through strategic collaboration, a pilot for the HPV vaccination program is underway. The VIAC national cervical cancer screening program is being adopted into the current healthcare system. With regards to the treatment of precancerous lesions we found that the "see and treat" program has been implemented in colposcopy clinics. In addition, there are two multidisciplinary cancer treatment clinics installed in two central public hospitals. The general knowledge and understanding of cervical cancer is poor in Zimbabwe.

 

Conclusion: limitations in resources, infrastructure, manpower, delays in treatment and patient knowledge play a role in the high morbidity and mortality of cervical cancer in Zimbabwe. The Ministry of Health needs to increase funding to expedite the availability of HPV vaccine and screening programs. Community engagement initiatives to raise awareness on cervical cancer should be established to provide education on how to prevent the development of cervical cancer, as well as promote screening for early detection.