300 women availed of free cervical cancer screening

300 women availed of free cervical cancer screening
Almer Kaye Aguadera/DNSC Intern

A TOTAL of 300 women received free cervical cancer screening during the Cervical Cancer Screening Services Regional Launch at Davao City Recreation Center, formerly Almendras Gymnasium, on Thursday morning, May 9, 2024.

Dr. Julinda Acosta, chief of the City Health Office (CHO)-Technical Division of Davao City, said in an interview that more than 300 women aged 30-65 lined up for the free cervical cancer screening through Visual Inspection with Acetic acid (VIA). 

However, they can only accommodate 300 women for the screening, thus the excess number of women who were not able to avail of the VIA were offered free Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening tests instead. 

“Ang ma-cater lang namo kay 300, mao tong nagpadungag mi og examining tables kay daghan pa ang wala na-cater. Naay nangabot na sobra 300, ang among gihatag na lang na services kay free HIV screening test (We can only cater 300 [women], that’s why we added examining tables because a lot of women are not still catered to. Those who exceeded 300, we offered the free HIV screening test for them,)” she said. 

Acosta emphasized that the VIA service is conducted in partnership with the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society. 

She expressed gratitude for the collaboration of these specialists who conducted the VIA for the women who availed themselves of the free service.

“Ang nakagwapo man gud ani, naa atong mga partner na taga Philippine Society of Obstetrics and Gynecologist [Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society] diri sa Davao City. Mao nang thankful kaayo mi na ni-join sila karon ug daghan pud nanganhi na mga kababaihan (What’s great here is that we partnered with Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society here in Davao City. That’s why we are thankful because they joined in this campaign and many women also participated in the event,)” she said. 

Birlyn delos Reyes, a 40-year-old woman with four children, and one of those who availed of the VIA service expressed her sentiments about the importance of undertaking the service. She also encouraged other women to avail of this service.

“Akong matambag is i-avail jud nila since libre man siya, dili na nila hunahunaon ang makabayad. Privilege kaayo siya tungod kay libre, para at least aware siya sa ilang personal health, ilabi na sa mga mothers (Women should avail of these services since it’s free, do not think about the payment. It is a privilege because it is free so that they would be aware about their personal health, especially those who are already mothers),” she said. 

Anna Aigee Aparre, a 13-year-old grade six pupil from F. Bustamante National High School, Davao City, and one of the 10 young girls who received the free HPV vaccination, expressed her gratitude to the government for providing free services.

“I'm happy kay many people walay kwarta para ani because mahal baya ang cervical cancer vaccine, so I feel very happy po. Thank you to the government (I’m happy because many people don’t have money to have this kind of service because cervical cancer vaccine is expensive, so I feel very happy. Thank you to the government,)” she said. 

Acosta highlighted the possible reasons for the small number of young girls who participated in the vaccination and among them is that they have their classes. Some were also not aware of the free HPV vaccination. She said there were still 300 vaccination kits available to be administered.

Aside from Visual Inspection with acetic acid (VIA), an alternative to a pap smear, there is also Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for children between nine and 14 years old and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening tests. 

Acosta stressed that women are important and encouraged them to visit their respective Barangay Health Centers and private doctors to avail themselves of such services. Almer Kaye Aguadera and Bianca Khu/DNSC Interns

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