Rumbidzai Mushayi had never received a cervical cancer screening until she'd already developed the disease. In Zimbabwe, where she lives, cervical cancer care is not readily available. Of the approximately 311,000 women who died from cervical cancer in 2018, more than 85 percent of them lived in low- and middle-income countries. These are unnecessary deaths, because cervical cancer is both preventable and treatable. Mushayi was eventually able to get the medical care she needed to survive, with assistance from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). But, she warns, “one must not delay to seek treatment. Do not wait to be ferried by a wheel barrow or an ox-drawn cart to the hospital." She worried about having a surgical procedure, but is glad she did it. “The pain has eased, and I can now sleep peacefully,” she says.
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One must not delay to seek treatment. Do not wait to be ferried by a wheel barrow or ox-drawn cart to the hospital.
Text: In 2018, cervical cancer claimed the lives of more than 300,000 women globally.
I am Rumbidzai Mushayi.
There was no money for me to go for a medical examination to determine the real problem causing pain in my body.
We were desperate. The children have their own families and could not afford to take care of my medical needs.
Text: After several rounds of screening and treatment, Rumbidzai was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
When I went to MSF, I told them my problem and the nurse, Sister Mercy, directed me on how to proceed.
Text: MSF referred Rumbidzai to a specialist hospital for surgery.
When they called my name for the operation, “Rumbidzai!”, I stood up but my heart was beating fast, I wasn't sure if this was the right decision I had made.
Since then, I have felt a huge relief in my body, the pain has eased and I can now sleep peacefully without any pain.
Even some of the clothes which could not fit anymore because of my weight loss I can now wear them!