Ongwediva Medipark brings services closer

30 October 2019 | Local News

While the government is failing to construct adequate health facilities in the Kavango West Region to respond to the access to health needs of the inhabitants, the Ongwediva Medipark private hospital this month took various services to the people with its free cancer screening programme.

During the two-day event at Nkurenkuru, the regional capital of the region, Ongwediva Medipark provided free breast, cervical and prostate cancer screening while some people were treated for sexually transmitted diseases.

A cancer awareness march was also held in the dusty streets of Nkurenkuru to inform the townspeople of the benefits of early detection of the disease.

A total of 511 people were screened, of whom 96 were men.

According to Ongwediva Medipark's managing director, Dr Tshali Ithete, the vision is to reach as many communities as possible with the free cancer screening programme in order to supplement the government's efforts to fight against cancer.

“With these campaigns we hope to reach as many communities as we possibly can and contribute towards the fight against these cancers,” Ithete said.

“With campaigns like this, we can have a meaningful impact to reverse the tide of these cancers and their effects on our communities. All three of the most common cancers found in Namibia are treatable, if detected early.

“This campaign also helps to create a critical body of information that can help our government with its targeted health interventions. Therefore it is in this partnership together, we can fight the scourge of breast, cervical and prostate cancers.”

Ithete also used the opportunity to urge men to stop being reluctant to seek medical attention and to get screened for prostate cancer.

Ithete said during the eight years of hosting the free cancer screening programme in various regions, over 5 000 people have benefited.

The patron of the Medipark free screening programme, former first lady Penexupifo Pohamba, said people in rural areas have no access to free screening or information on the symptoms of cancer, which makes them more vulnerable.

“People in rural areas have no or little access to cancer screening, early diagnosis and treatment. It is for this reason that men and women in those limited areas present themselves late to hospitals when the disease has advanced, when there is nothing much that can be done.

“Early detection of cancer will enable healthcare providers to initiate early treatment that does not require sophisticated facilities or highly specialised staff,” Pohamba said.

She also pointed out that over the years the Namibian health fraternity has been preoccupied with fighting infectious diseases. She said this approach must change, as non-communicable diseases deserve equal attention.

On the issue of men being reluctant to be tested and to seek medical attention, Pohamba called on all men above the age of 45 to go for regular check-ups for prostate cancer.

Pohamba stressed that no Namibian man or woman should die because of preventable cancers.

The former first lady thanked Ongwediva Medipark for taking services closer to the people despite the economic downturn the country is faced with.

The symptoms

The symptoms of breast cancer are a lump in the breast, thickening, swelling and tenderness of the breast, change in the texture of the skin of the breast as well as spontaneous nipple discharge.

The symptoms associated with cervical cancer are unusual vaginal bleeding and increased vaginal discharge.

The signs and symptoms associated with prostate cancer are frequent urination, difficulty starting or stopping urination, and erectile dysfunction.