Thank you so much for all your past support. This will be the final report for IMA World Health’s Combating Cervical Cancer in Tanzania project on Global Giving. IMA will continue this program and continue to raise funds for our cervical cancer prevention and treatment program through our website. IMA World Health has been implementing cervical cancer prevention and control programs in the Mara Region of northwestern Tanzania since 2011. IMA has screened nearly 5,000 women between 30-40 years of age and treated over 300 women.The main cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sexual intercourse. It can be prevented by either primary prevention, through abstinence and HPV vaccination, or secondary prevention by way of screening and treating pre-cancerous lesions. This problem is compounded by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Tanzania. Being HIV positive increases the risk of developing cervical cancer by at least 50%, as well as contributes to an earlier onset of the disease by 10 years (1).Tanzania has one of the highest cervical cancer burdens in the world, with incidence of 50.9 cases per 100,000 women (2). This burden is 50% higher than the East African average and nine times higher than Europe and North America. However, if pre-cancerous lesions are detected and treated early, cervical cancer is almost 100% curable. IMA selected implementation for the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control program in the Mara Region of Tanzania because it is among regions where HIV prevalence has increased from 3.5% in 2003/04 to 7.7% in 2007/08 (3). IMA has been working in the Mara region for the last 10 years and has a strong working relationship with the health leadership. To overcome the access barrier IMA has engaged in outreach activities providing cervical cancer screening and treatment at the community level in the Tarime, Rorya and Musoma districts. IMA also collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) in the development of national IEC materials to raise community awareness of the importance of cervical cancer screenings and early treatment. In addition, IMA has increased capacity building efforts to include training of health care workers (21) and procurement of necessary equipment for screening and treatment. IMA has also developed a cancer database to capture data of all women screened and treated for cervical cancer at the health facilities. IMA is implementing the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control program by providing appropriate and quality cervical cancer care and treatment services to include screening and treating pre-cancerous lesions. In addition, IMA is working with hospitals to build community awareness of cervical cancer risks and successes in treatment to promote screening and treatment uptake and demand for these services. Thank you for all your past support. We could not provide the services we have provided over the past few years without your support. You have truly made a difference in the lives of women in need of cervical cancer screening and treatment. If you would like to continue to follow or support our work on cervical cancer please visit our website and our Facebook page (links found below). If you would like to continue to support an IMA World Health project through Global Giving please check out our Safe Motherhood Kit project. Again, thank you for all your past support!
1 Kehesa C, Mwaiselage J, Wabinga HR, et al 2008. “Association between cancer of the cervix and HIV-1 infection in Tanzania: the need for dual screening” BMC Public Health, 8:262 2 World Health Organization. Tanzania: Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers, Fact Sheet 2010. http://apps.who.int/hpvcentre/statistics 3 Tanzania HIV/AIDS and Malaria Indicator Survey. Government of Tanzania. 2007-08
It’s a sticky, sweltering day in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the mood at the Boo Nsuba Health Center and Maternity is light and cheerful. More than a dozen expectant mothers have gathered in the shade under the center’s veranda, chatting and laughing as they await their prenatal checkups and a demonstration on the IMA Safe Motherhood Kit™.
“Safe Motherhood Kits are very useful,” says Claudine, the head nurse at Boo Nsuba, displaying a stash of kits in the delivery room cabinet. “We use them for every birth.” Each Safe Motherhood Kit™ contains a set of clean and sterile supplies to help prevent infection, a common cause of illness and death for new mothers in the Congo.
The Boo Nsuba Health Center manages between 30 and 50 deliveries each month, and the staff is grateful to have these essential supplies on hand. Though they have easy access to sterile gloves and gauze, the health center relies on Safe Motherhood Kits™ to supply the rest of the items. Nurse Claudine says they especially appreciate the sterile umbilical tie, the plastic sheet—which creates a barrier to help prevent contamination—and the soap and washcloth. She explains that as soon as a woman arrives at the clinic in labor, she is asked to take a shower to ensure the cleanest birth possible.
The health center has even managed to find resourceful alternative uses for some of the kit items. Nurse Claudine explains that the absorbent underpads are sometimes used as maternity maxi pads, which can be hard to find in the Congo, and any leftover sterile scalpels are saved and used for male circumcisions. During the Safe Motherhood Kit™ demonstration, the mothers are especially excited about the kit’s baby clothes. In addition to being endearingly small, the baby hat, pajamas and blanket also help to keep the newborn warm in those important hours after delivery, and they serve as a special gift that encourages women to deliver at the health center with a Safe Motherhood Kit™ and help from a trained nurse rather than at home.
Back in the Boo Nsuba maternity ward, first-time mother Kibete proudly shows off her healthy baby girl, snuggled into her new Safe Motherhood Kit™ outfit. Kibete hasn’t decided on a name, but then again her daughter is only four hours old, and they’ve had a long morning. Both look peaceful and content as they rest and recover side-by-side on the cot. “The women here are very happy to have Safe Motherhood Kits™,” says Nurse Claudine as she walks through the maternity ward, visiting each mother and baby. “They even use the plastic bag to take the reusable items home.”
IMA Safe Motherhood Kits™ are provided by generous donations from individuals, churches, service clubs and other private donors. You can provide an entire kit for a gift of just $25.
Thirty-one year old, Happiness, who lives in Nyamongo in Tanzania traveled 31 miles from her home to Tarime District Hospital because she was in desperate need of HIV testing and cervical cancer screening. Unfortunately, the Sungausungu Health Centre that is closest to where she lives has limited medical capacity.
After being screened Happiness said, “I enjoyed the screening because I wanted to know my status for HIV and cervical cancer and I trust in the procedure by the way I was examined thoroughly.” Happiness also stated, “The staff explained the procedure to me and eased my fears.” Happiness concluded by saying, “I encourage women to be screened for cervical cancer because I thought it would be painful but it wasn’t painful at all.”
Happiness learned of the screening through her church. She brought four other women along with her and has since motivated many others to make the trip for cervical cancer screenings.
Happiness and the four women she brought with her are just a few of the many women who have greatly benefited from the cervical cancer screening and treatment available at the Tarime District Hospital. Your support helps screen more women in need of this life-saving screening.