Combating Cervical Cancer in Tanzania

by IMA World Health
Mar 26, 2013

Cervical cancer screening provides early detection

IMA World Health first met Nyangeta, 29, at an HIV/AIDS care
and treatment center (CTC) in Tanzania through our work with Project LEAD.

She was diagnosed with HIV a year ago. Having depended on her aunts and
older brothers and sisters for survival since she was orphaned at 15, Nyangeta was
nervous about how her family would react to the news.

She explained, “I was so much disturbed by these results, it was very
difficult for me to disclose to my brothers and sisters. However, when I joined
the Groups for People Living with HIV/AIDS, through sharing, I was empowered
and disclosure was somehow easy. I am now living positively, and sometimes I go
to work at the care and treatment center to encourage the newly diagnosed
clients.”

Because of the medical treatment and emotional support she receives through
this program, Nyangeta has been able to continue working on her brother’s
subsistence farm, where she lives with her eight-year-old child.

Recently, during Nyangeta’s routine checkup at the CTC, a nurse educated her on the
dangers of developing cervical cancer, especially when one is HIV positive. According
to recent studies, a weakened immune system due to HIV significantly increases
a woman's chance of developing cervical cancer. Nyangeta also learned about
the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control program that IMA World Health and partners began
offering at Musoma Regional Hospital last fall, and she started talking with other
women who had already undergone screening. They encouraged her to go for the
procedure.

After her screening, Nyangeta told us, “I was so much impressed by the screening
team. They are conducting a group as well as one-to-one talk, explaining the
procedure, what is expected, the meaning of positive and negative results and the
type of treatment given when the results are positive. We were allowed to ask
questions 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 of
some 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 cryotherapy
treatment that very day. She was thankful for early detection and
immediate treatment.

“I thank God for this opportunity,” Nyangeta said. “I would have reported with advanced cancer [if I
would not have gotten my cervical cancer screening when I did]. This is my
first time to have a screening done on me since I was born. I have already informed
my 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 American
Baptist Churches (USA) – as well as the commitment of the health workers at
Musoma Hospital, Nyangeta’s story has a happy ending, and she is spreading the
word so other at-risk women can get the screenings and treatments that can save
their lives too.

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Organization Information

IMA World Health

Location: New Windsor, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.imaworldhealth.org
IMA World Health
Project Leader:
Christopher Glass
New Windsor, Maryland United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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