Cervical cancer screening
A year-long project to revitalize gynaecologic community care to 2500 women in Zimbabwe following COVID-19
In Zimbabwe's rural villages, women are the pillars of their communities. As the primary caregivers of their families, they look after their children, manage family households, gardens and farms, often travelling great distances to obtain fuel and water. So when women experience health problems, the consequences have a ripple effect on their families, communities and the nation at large. Diseases caused by the HPV and HIV viruses disproportionately affect women and girls, as well as other gynaecological conditions, the HPV virus in particular has been a leading cause of cervical cancer in women. Cervical cancer is preventable, treatable, and curable. However, it must be screened early and treated effectively to prevent death.
Recognizing these urgent needs, Karanda MissionHospital (KMH) has been actively addressing these issues for years. Since 1961, the Karanda Mission Hospital (KMH) has worked to improve healthcare for women in rural Zimbabwe, and in the last ten years, has placed a special emphasis on screening and treatment of cervical cancer.
“Thanks to this new project with Madiro, Karanda are in a better position to revive early cervical cancer identification and treatment in the community following the downturn of COVID-19 ,”
explains Dr. Paul Thistle, who is leading the medical team at KMH and the implementation of Madiro’s project. The project team also includes Dr. Lowell Schnipper, Professor of Medicine at HarvardUniversity, who provides program supervision support, Mr. Nyasha Kahari, as easoned community care coordinator, and senior administrative nursing officer,Emily Muchenje, who is responsible for coordinating and supervising all hospital and community outreach activities. As Dr, Thistle says, in Shona translation, ‘one thumbnail does not crush a louse’. Many hands make light work!
KMH and Madiro’s partnership will help the team improve access to preventive care and treatment for cervical cancer, and a range of gynaecological health issues, to thousands of women in rural Zimbabwe.Better access to screening will be far-reaching, thanks to the mobile medical units that will travel to rural communities and clinics. Screening will be performed for cancer, but also include testing for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
A crucial aspect of the program is a strong community outreach in health education, that shares messaging and builds public awareness of women's health and cervical cancer screening. Thanks to the community outreach team of four community workers, it is estimated that, in the next 12 months, 2700 families in 32 villages will learn about the vital importance of women’s health and available care at Karanda.