The First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa says cancer has become a serious health challenge in the world with Zimbabwe being no exception.

Addressing thousands of women at the AFM International Women’s Conference at Rufaro in Chartsworth Gutu, Amai Mnangagwa said cancer cases are likely to double in the next 20 to 40 years and the greatest negative impact is with the developing nations.

The First Lady said she has committed herself to the fight and campaign against cancer to assist fellow Zimbabweans and urged the church, other organisations and stakeholders to join her efforts.

She challenged churches which are always in touch with communities to identify where there is real need and stretch a helping hand to the vulnerable people in communities adding that they should not tire.

Amai Mnangagwa said while she works a lot with the needy, she was particularly focussing on the area of diseases and conditions that affect the physical bodies particularly cancers which are the leading causes of death especially amongst women.

She revealed that new cases are being recorded daily and statistics show a trend of more females being affected than males and that cervical cancer is rampant amongst women while prostate cancer mostly affects men.

The First Lady however reassured the women that if early preventive action is taken, the chances of getting rid of cancer before it spreads are very high.

Amai Mnangagwa stressed the importance of seeking medical treatment once their physical body begins to complain saying most of the deadly physical conditions start small and if ignored and neglected they develop into serious complications.

Turning to the problem of cancer in men she said the ministry has plans to roll out mobile clinics for screening prostate cancer and urged them to visit hospitals and clinics screening for prostate cancer.

After her address, the First Lady and the dignitaries went on to meet hundreds of ladies who were being screened for cervical cancer in her buses which has become the trademark of her anti-cervical cancer campaign.

In a speech read on his behalf by the director for Family Health in his ministry, Dr Bernard Madzima, Health and Child Care Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa paid tribute to the First Lady Amai Mnangagwa for the huge role she is playing in spearheading the screening and curing of cervical cancer.

Dr Parirenyatwa said through her cervical cancer awareness programme, from just 5 000 women screened in February 2017, by same time this year some 20 000 have been screened by February this year.

He noted that the sharp increase in the number of screened women is attributed to the good work that the First Lady is doing to create cervical cancer awareness among women.

The Health and Child Care Minister said by intensifying her efforts to screen and cure cervical cancer, Amai Mnangagwa’s programme is also pushing the his ministry to do more in as far as intensifying cancer programmes is concerned.

He revealed that government is looking at increasing funding for the treatment of cervical cancer and is also looking at intensifying breast and prostate cancer awareness.

Dr Parirenyatwa urged women attending the conference to be screened during the conference and those who will not make it to be screened for free at their nearest health centres.

President of the AFM Church in Zimbabwe, Reverend Dr Ashper Madziyire spoke on the origins of their church in the country in 1913 and the needs of the church that include support of AFM Orphanage, the need to construct a clinic for the church at Rufaro, construction of a university and the need to tar the road leading to its headquarters.

Dr Madziyire said the AFM Church will raise a quota of the required funding while government through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development will provide the remaining funds.

The First was accompanied by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Professor Amon Murwira.

Also present at the conference were president of the AFM International Reverend Frank Chikane, Treasurer General of AFM International from Botswana, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Cde Vincent Hungwe.

 AFM is in 30 African countries and 10 of them in attendance at the Women’s Conference are Australia, Botswana, DRC, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, Zambia and Zimbabwe.