DURBAN – Health MEC in KwaZulu-Natal, Nomagugu Simelane has urged hospitals to make use of the 16 brand new cervical cancer-detecting machines that were unveiled recently. The Department has been distributing the Large Loop Excision of the Transformational Zone (LLETZ) machines as part of a programme to offset the effects of Covid-19 and related national lockdowns.
Speaking at the Hluhluwe clinic during the distribution, Simelane said these effects have resulted in fewer patients coming forward to get screened and tested for ailments such as HIV and TB, cancer, as well as other Non-Communicable Diseases.
The health department said according to statistics one in 40 South African women developed cervical cancer, and that up to 3 500 women of the women died from the disease annually.
According to the department, the function of the LLETZ machines is to conduct a small surgical procedure on the woman’s cervix. Using electrical current, the LLETZ procedure removes that part of the cervix where the cells are becoming abnormal (dysplastic), which might otherwise develop into cancer.
“These abnormal cells can be detected by a pap smear, which is strongly recommended for women aged 30 and above. Women who are HIV-negative need to undergo a pap smear once every 10 years, whereas those who are HIV-positive need to have it done once every three years,” stated the department.
Simelane urged all the hospitals who are receiving these brand new machines to ensure that they are put to good use. “These machines are going to make a big difference in whether we are able to pick up, right at the beginning whether, a woman is susceptible to cervical cancer; and if she is, we are able to remove the cells that need to be removed from the cervix
She said: “We are very excited. I am happy that most of our facilities will be getting these machines. In all the facilities that are getting these machines, we’re expecting numbers. We will be checking after six months how these hospitals have been using these machines, and we want to see progress.”
The department said the machines have been sent to over 15 hospitals across the province, and in total 47 health facilities now have the early detection machines.