Khorixas-The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) this week tested more than 300 people in Kunene Region of whom 105 were women from Outjo and 24 were men. At Khorixas, 123 of those tested at the district hospital were women and 40 men.
Testing was also done at Damara Mopane Lodge near Khorixas on Wednesday.
The Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna, joined the CAN team as a volunteer nurse to together with state hospital nurses test both men and women.
In Otjozundjupa Region, 81 women and 18 men were tested.
“I am actually excited to be here to create awareness on various cancers as it is preventable,” Kavetuna stated on Wednesday. She said she joined the CAN team to create awareness of the disease.
“Cancer does not develop in one day but you must be checked regularly. We must make sure many people are tested as clinics are doing it (testing on a daily basis) but we are sensitizing them with such campaigns to raise awareness,” Kavetuna said.
Asked if prostate cancer is a problem in Kunene Region, Kavetuna responded: “Yes it’s a problem. It’s overwhelming. Cervical and breast cancer is a problem across the country.”
Next month the team will visit Opuwo area to conduct awareness on cancer.
Kavetuna said there are opportunities for one to be tested for cancer and get treatment if diagnosed early.
“We must know what the risk is and seek treatment if we happen to be diagnosed with cancer. Today we are mobilizing people to take the responsibility to care of themselves,” Kavetuna, who wore a nurses’ uniform, said. The deputy minister also did registration of people who went for testing.
On the Gondwana Group of Lodges’ partnership with CAN, Kavetuna said she was very happy, and this year they went out of their way to allow testing to be done on communities who live near their tourism establishments.
On the CAN national awareness campaign, Kavetuna said: “CAN is the driver although the ministry is the custodian of health in the country.”
Christa /Awases said it is important to do testing as finding out late could be too late for a cure. /Awases was one of the government employees who took time off from work to be tested.
Christa Kavetuna, a nurse, said CAN is a welfare, non-profitable organization that does not get funding from the government or international donors but tries to play its role to assist the country.
She said the prostate test is not a direct test for cancer but for abnormal growths of hormones and health professionals can know there might be a problem and refer people to doctors for a full blood test. She pained over sexually active young people, especially women, turning up in low numbers for the cervical cancer test.
“We need you. Your lives need to be safe too, so please turn up in huge numbers,” she said.
About fifty people were turned away due to lack of a budget and few stock at Khorixas District Hospital.