The Malaysia Madani government needs to take proactive measures to combat the threat of cervical cancer against women’s health.
The provision of free cervical cancer testing activities in government hospitals and government clinics coupled with providing more reagents to detect cervical cancer will enable the earlier discovery of this ailment.
Women are encouraged to conduct self-tests to detect and treat this fatal disease early and safeguard the health of the female population.
According to statistics by the Global Cancer Observatory (GCO), cervical cancer is the fourth largest enemy threatening women’s health in Malaysia.
There were 1,740 cases in 2020, of which 991 cases or 57 per cent lost their lives to this disease. GCO estimates that more than 12 million women aged 15 and above in Malaysia are at risk of cervical cancer.
Another think tank, the HPV Information Center, informed that cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among Malaysian women aged between 15 to 44 years.
All the data highlighted above reveal that cervical cancer is a major killer.
A recent initiative by Gleneagles Hospital in Johor and the Rose Foundation to provide 1,500 cervical cancer detection self-test kits for women is a promising start.
We hope that other hospitals will follow suit and provide more similar tests and services to encourage women to get tested and raise awareness about cervical cancer.
Awareness about cervical cancer prevention may still be lacking among women. Similarly, women may be ashamed to go have an examination conducted at a hospital due to privacy issues.
The government should therefore enhance publicity and provide free testing activities in government hospitals and clinics in the various states to encourage more women to undergo this screening.
By widening the coverage of its screening to cover not only urban city dwellers but to women in rural and remote areas as well via mobile clinics, the government would thus be enabling accessibility to benefit more women especially among destitute communities.
Furthermore, by providing self-test kits for women, the government will also help women detect this fatal disease early and improve the recovery rate through early treatment.
Cervical cancer, as one of the common cancers among women, poses a serious threat to women’s health and a heavy economic burden.
Therefore, we call on the government to take the above proactive measures to protect women’s health.
Tee Hooi Ling is Wanita MCA national deputy chairperson.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Ova.