Cancer cruelly takes the lives of many women in both the cities and rural areas of Malaysia, so the Malaysian national and local authorities have formulated plans and programs to help prevent this high death-rate amongst women.
One of them involves a “we will come to you” program which has a mobile clinic in a bus that visits local kampungs as residents rarely travel to city hospitals where the best facilities are found.
The ‘Dewan Orang Ramai Lenggeng’ in Negeri Sembilan recently hosted a four-hour-session organised by the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN), and assisted by the Village Community Management Council (MPKK), about warning signs for various cancers including breast and ovarian.
Many local women and some men attended – they listened to several talks, watched visual demonstrations of how to recognise signs of the diseases and spoke with doctors and medical officers who then tested them on-site in the hall for diabetes, blood pressure and also conducted pap smears for the women in a clinic, housed in a large bus.
The mobile clinic is in a bus, redesigned for cancer testing that comes to the kampungs and gives privacy to participants.
© Photos Nic Falconer / Serembanonline.com
Seremban obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Jamali Wagiman, who spoke to the audience, said that 75% of the women who arrive at the hospitals in Malaysia are in the latter stages of cancer and the outlook is sometimes not good for them.
“It is vital that they recognise the early warning signs and symptoms, as they are very treatable,” he said, referring to women having regular pap smears and mammograms.
“Originally we had hoped that these diseases would be eradicated by 2025, but the take-up rate for these two tests is still low,” he said.
The sample tests taken at the kampung hall’s are analysed at a laboratory and if some of the warning signs are present the women are advised and a date is arranged to take all the women by bus at a later date to have mammograms at the nearest hospital that has the latest testing facilities.
Chairman of Kg Lenggeng Mohammed Aris bin Nordin and Kg Tarun secretary Rozeita Said, were both happy at the response from locals attending the morning displays.
“It is our responsibility as head(s) of the community to bring about knowledge and create awareness on these harmful cancers, especially to elderly kampung people.”
“Vital knowledge and information are limited to them, so we have to lay the education before them,” said Rozieta.