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On a chilly November afternoon, Gavhar, a 50-year-old school teacher from Nukus region, lays among 2 other women in a large room. A day earlier, she had undergone a critical surgery to save her life after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer a month earlier.

“I never complained about my health and could never predict that I had such a disease” says Gavhar as she explains her shock upon learning about her condition. Gavhar took part in cervical cancer screening implemented by the Ministry of Health and UNFPA for over 50,000 Karakalpak women in order to detect a preventable disease that unfortunately claims over 800 lives of women in Uzbekistan annually.

Gavhar recalls how the month-long process from test to surgery began, “I regularly visit the gynaecologist at the local clinic, and I was urged by her to get tested…every woman in my age range was being asked to get a test”. Upon learning about her condition, Gavhar explained that she was taken care of by the doctors who took the necessary time to explain that Gavhar still has great potential to live a long healthy life. “I am grateful that the cancer was detected at the right time and I was taken to get surgery immediately”.

Through the testing program, Gavhar received an accurate diagnosis early, making it possible for her to both get a test and undergo surgery in her native Nukus without the need to ever travel to another part of the country. Gavhar cheerfully states “I hope to return to the classroom to teach once more, my kids have also been worried but I am happy that the surgery was a success”. Gavhar’s story highlights how prevention programs can save thousands more women like her all across Uzbekistan."