IMA World Health first met Nyangeta, 29, at an HIV/AIDS careand treatment center (CTC) in Tanzania through our work with Project LEAD.
She was diagnosed with HIV a year ago. Having depended on her aunts andolder brothers and sisters for survival since she was orphaned at 15, Nyangeta wasnervous about how her family would react to the news.
She explained, “I was so much disturbed by these results, it was verydifficult for me to disclose to my brothers and sisters. However, when I joinedthe Groups for People Living with HIV/AIDS, through sharing, I was empoweredand disclosure was somehow easy. I am now living positively, and sometimes I goto work at the care and treatment center to encourage the newly diagnosedclients.”
Because of the medical treatment and emotional support she receives throughthis program, Nyangeta has been able to continue working on her brother’ssubsistence farm, where she lives with her eight-year-old child.
Recently, during Nyangeta’s routine checkup at the CTC, a nurse educated her on thedangers of developing cervical cancer, especially when one is HIV positive. Accordingto recent studies, a weakened immune system due to HIV significantly increasesa woman's chance of developing cervical cancer. Nyangeta also learned aboutthe Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control program that IMA World Health and partners beganoffering at Musoma Regional Hospital last fall, and she started talking with otherwomen who had already undergone screening. They encouraged her to go for theprocedure.
After her screening, Nyangeta told us, “I was so much impressed by the screeningteam. They are conducting a group as well as one-to-one talk, explaining theprocedure, what is expected, the meaning of positive and negative results and thetype of treatment given when the results are positive. We were allowed to askquestions and got clarification. We miss this in most of our other clinics,probably because of time, but more so I think because of lack of commitment ofsome of the health care providers.”
Nyangeta tested positive using the visual inspection with acetic acid approach (VIA).Since the project utilizes a “Single Visit Approach,” she received cryotherapytreatment that very day. She was thankful for early detection andimmediate treatment.
“I thank God for this opportunity,” Nyangeta said. “I would have reported with advanced cancer [if Iwould not have gotten my cervical cancer screening when I did]. This is myfirst time to have a screening done on me since I was born. I have already informedmy friends through their mobiles. They are on their way, coming for this examination.”
Thanks to the caring support of our generous donors – including Week of Compassion and the AmericanBaptist Churches (USA) – as well as the commitment of the health workers atMusoma Hospital, Nyangeta’s story has a happy ending, and she is spreading theword so other at-risk women can get the screenings and treatments that can savetheir lives too.
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