Sister Mercy: Helping Women Get Treatment for Cervical Cancer in Zimbabwe

Sister Mercy Mandizvo is a nurse mentor working with a cervical cancer prevention and treatment project run by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Gutu, Zimbabwe. The country has among the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world, and many women die because they seek care too late. Sister Mercy is passionate about helping women get access to the care they need. MSF supports six rural health centers in Gutu, offering cervical cancer screening and treatment. If staff identify pre-cancerous lesions on a patient's cervix, they can use cryotherapy—a freezing technique—to remove them. Women who need surgical procedures—including, in some cases, a hysterectomy—are referred to one of two district hospitals. "Patients are always afraid because of fear of the unknown," Mandizvo says. "With time, those who have undergone the procedure, when they go to talk to other clients out there, they will be more eager to come in, now with less anxiety." Read more about cervical cancer and MSF's work to help more women survive.