- Collaboration with the National Aids Council (NAC) of Zimbabwe
- Pilot HIV screening programme in Zimbabwe
- 720,000 HIV affected women in Zimbabwe
- 13 million HIV affected women in Africa
- Minimal existing cervical cancer screening infrastructure
- Women suffering from HIV at increased risk of cervical cancer
Cervical cancer technology company, TruScreen Limited (NZAX:TRU), announces its African HIV initiative which includes deliberations with senior African health officials regarding the screening of women generally and the specific need for screening HIV affected women. TruScreen is in advanced discussions with the National Aids Council (NAC) of Zimbabwe for the use of TruScreen as the preferred screening method for cervical cancer of HIV affected women.
The role of the NAC is to coordinate and facilitate the response in Zimbabwe to HIV and AIDS. The NAC proposes to incorporate cervical cancer, as an HIV co-infection, into its national health response and has made a deliberate effort to involve TruScreen. The NAC, together with The Minister of Health and Child Care (MOHCC), are set to launch cancer awareness programmes including cancer training, screening and management programmes to accelerate the fight against ‘AIDS defining cancers’. The NAC proposes to place a TruScreen device into every primary care centre in Zimbabwe and to prioritize the cervical cancer screening of women in the rural environments.
Cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in women in eastern Africa, and women with HIV are six times more likely to develop cervical cancer. Having HIV nearly doubles the risk of dying from cervical cancer and Zimbabwe has the fifth highest cervical cancer rate in the world where almost 95% of cervical cancer patients are diagnosed at late or end stage of the disease. In addition, Zimbabwe has the sixth highest rate of HIV globally with an estimated 720,000 women living with HIV.
Zimbabwe is a pilot in Africa to access the screening for cervical cancer through access to ‘AIDS-defining cancers’ throughout Africa and it is expected that TruScreen will extend this strategy to the rest of Africa where there are 227 million women of screening age and 13 million women suffering from HIV.
Chairman of TruScreen, Mr Robert Hunter, said: “African countries represent a major untapped market opportunity for the company, as many have little or no laboratory infrastructure or existing screening programmes or methods. TruScreen is a portable real time device that does not need laboratory infrastructure and is perfectly suited to Zimbabwe’s desire to introduce screening to HIV affected women and to the African continent as a whole.”