First Lady takes cancer drive to Chipinge First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa (left) buys bananas from roadside vendors in Chipinge during a tour of the eastern border town on Saturday last week. - (Picture by John Manzongo)

Tendai Rupapa and Rumbidzayi Zinyuke
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa on Saturday toured Mt Selinda Hospital and orphanage in Chipinge District, where authorities apprised her of the urgent need for cancer awareness campaigns in the area.

The hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr Hughes Mhlanga, told the First Lady that most women in Chipinge were being diagnosed with cervical or breast cancer after it had reached critical stages.

Dr Mhlanga said this was because of lack of knowledge on the silent killer disease, hence the plea for the First Lady to intervene and educate people in the area of the deadly disease.

In response to the hospital’s plea, the First Lady said she was going to engage the Ministry of Health and Child Care so that it brings mobile clinics to Chipinge at the earliest possible time.

Addressing the gathering, the First Lady said she was happy that her awareness campaigns were bearing fruit as people were heeding her call to undergo screening.

“Ndirikufamba nyika yese ndichishumira nyaya yecancer,” she said. “Ndichanokumbirisa zvikuru kuMinistry of Health and Child Care yandinoshandanayo, kuti vauye kuno nemamobile clinics mozotariswa nyaya yecancer.

“Nekuti cancer zvairikuita ndezvekuti hairatidze kuti icancer yandirikunzwa, painozobatwa kuti icancer panenge pasisina munhu. Yakasiyana nezvimwe zvirwere. Cancer is a serious and growing public health challenge in the world and it continues to be on the increase in Zimbabwe as we are at number 10 in the world.”

The First Lady urged residents to go out in their numbers and get screened when the Ministry of Health and Child Care visits their area.

“Ndichamhanyisa kuti screening ikurumidze yauya kuno nekuti mushonga wayo cancer ndewekuziva kuti unayo here wobva wakurumidza kupihwa mushonga wayo,” she said.

“Vakauya veMinistry of Health mubude mese, musasara muchiti ndinoenda mangwana. Zvakanaka kuti ugare uchiziva kuti unayo here kana kuti hauna cancer.”

The First Lady urged men to get tested for prostate cancer.

She said she would not tire in her quest to assist the less privileged, especially orphaned chil- dren.

The First Lady challenged the community to desist from engaging in the evil practice of baby dumping, saying children were a gift from God and should be well looked after.

“I appreciate the work churches do, they are an important pillar in assisting the vulnerable,” she said. “The orphanage and hospital here speak volumes on the role of a church in our society.

“These institutions are giving hope to those who otherwise would have lost it by providing care to the sick and a home to the orphans. I will continue to advocate for the needs of the vulnerable.”

The First Lady visited the hospital following an invitation by the leaders of the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe, which runs Mt Selinda Hospital, Mt Selinda primary and secondary schools and the Daisy Dube Orpha- nage.

She told the people of Chipinge that she was also going to engage the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development to facilitate the rehabilitation of the road which connects Chipinge and Mt Selinda.

The church’s bishop, Ephraim Ngadziore, and his wife Munoda said they decided to invite the First Lady for their church members and the entire Chipinge community to benefit from the cancer screening programme.

“We want to thank the First Lady for accepting our invitation,” said Mrs Ngadziore. “We requested her to come to Chipinge to meet our church members, to tour our hospital and the orphanage and she gladly accepted.

“This has never happened to us and we would like to thank her for the love.

“She has also accepted to help us with the issue of cancer screening after engaging the responsible ministry.”

The First Lady started the national cancer awareness campaigns after engaging the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

She was accorded an ambassadorial role by the ministry and vowed to fight maternal death by ensuring efficient utilisation of available resources.

She also said she wanted to see an improvement in the fight against diseases like cancer and HIV.

The First Lady donated foodstuffs that included maize-meal, sugar and rice, as well as baby blankets and drinks to the hospital and the orphanage.

She was accompanied by Minister of State for Manicaland Province Monica Mutsvangwa.

The First Lady also visited macadamia nuts and banana plantations in the district.

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