By DAISY TANIOVA PAWA
MORE than 90% of women who had cervical cancer had had sexually transmitted infections (STIs), a clinic worker has said.
Well Women’s Clinic nurse manager Sandra Darus spoke to members of the public during an awareness drive on cervical cancer during the International Women’s Day celebrations in Lae, Morobe province, on Monday.
She said cervical cancer was a major problem for women due to promiscuity and pointed out that 95% of these cases were due to STIs.
The clinic encourages all women “whether you are promiscuous or not” to go there for a pap smear test “for free”, she said.
Sr Darus said among the 30 to 40 healthy women who visited the clinic for a pap smear test, 20 showed signs of cervical cancer.
She urged women to make wise decisions when it comes to their sex lives, exphasising that prevention was better than cure.
Staff from Angau Memorial Hospital also used the day to continue awareness on cholera.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) also joined the celebrations.
MSF project coordinator in Lae Isabel Weese said the celebrations gave them an opportunity to stress on the rights of women against violence.
She said it was also an opportunity to create awareness on the Women and Children’s Support Centre (WCSC) that addresses sexual and domestic violence.
MSF has been supporting the WCSC since November 2007.
Ms Weese described the violence PNG women encounter as “very extraordinary” and said the number of victims seen at the WCSC clinic was increasing.
She said there were still women out there who were not coming out to report to law enforcement authorities on their abuse or seeking treatment and counselling at the care centres.
Ms Weese said women in PNG were used to violence and accepted it as a norm.
She said the aim of the campaign was to make the public realised that any sort of violence, and most importantly violence against women, was not right.
and that women did not have to put up with it.
The awareness attracted hundreds of people and was marked by speeches, song and drama.