WORI has recently begun to deliver a new program, called the cervical cancer prevention program.
Uganda carries a high burden of cervical cancer mortality, a tragic situation in light of the preventability of a large portion of these cancers, with the use of cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination. Around 80% of patients who present to health services for cervical cancer have advanced disease. These facts speak to a lack of awareness about the nature of cervical cancer, and a lack of access of screening services.
Our cervical cancer prevention project is a two-year undertaking with multiple components. Our aim is to tackle the issue of cervical cancer mortality in the Eastern region of Uganda at several levels:
- Increasing community members’ awareness about cervical cancer and the availability of screening
- Improving access to cervical cancer screening
- Ensuring health centres, particularly in rural areas, have the necessary equipment to provide cervical cancer screening and cryotherapy
- Engaging with the government to campaign for greater resource allocation toward cervical cancer prevention
At present, we are focussed on delivering the awareness-raising arm of this program. We have travelled to the villages of Lwanda, Muguluka, Buwolelo and Nakulyako to talk to the community members about HPV, cervical cancer, what to expect during cervical cancer screening, and where to access screening services in Jinja. We have averaged 20-30 participants per session, and have visited several of these villages more than once.
Our approach has been to begin by gauging the existing attitudes and levels of knowledge, and then to deliver our material in an interactive fashion, bearing current levels of knowledge in mind.
So far, the response has been excellent. Community members have been very receptive to our program, and we have also been able to arrange some free cancer screenings at Magamaga health centre.
Moving forward, our next steps are to create and disseminate IEC (Information, Education and Communication) materials in both English and the local languages, bearing in mind the varying literacy levels of our target audience. We aim to reach a wider audience with our awareness-raising activities by creating and screening educational films on the subject, and by conducting radio show appearances to talk about the issue alongside medical experts and cancer survivors. We are currently in the process of completing funding applications to support these much needed activities.
If you are interested in lending your support or expertise to our program, please contact us: