IMA World Health/ April McCoy
Tanzania has one of the highest concentrations of cervical cancer in the world, but IMA World Health is determined to improve early detection and save lives.
IMA currently implements cervical cancer programs at both Shirati KMT Hospital and Musoma Regional Hospital, established health facilities in the Mara region of Tanzania. Due to the growing need for cervical cancer screening and treatment services in the rural areas surrounding these two health facilities, IMA also engages in community outreach activities to provide cervical cancer screening and treatment through at local sites.
On June 6, 2013, IMA provided an outreach campaign for HIV testing as well as cervical cancer screening and treatment at Tarime District Hospital, a smaller health facility on the outskirts of the Mara Region near the Kenyan border. Originally scheduled for two days with a target of screening 150 women, the event was extended to three days because the turnout far exceeded expectations. In total, 560 women were screened for cervical cancer through this three-day campaign. Of those screened, 15 were diagnosed with precancerous lesions and received cryotherapy treatment the same day.
Nyafuru Masoya Matiku, a participant at the cervical cancer screening at Tarime District Hospital, is a 31-year-old mother for four from the town of Nyamongo. Though most people prefer to go to health clinics within walking distance from their home, Nyafuru was determined to be screened and paid 5,000 TSH (approximately $3.00) to get to the screening at Tarime District Hospital. Nyafuru also brought two friends from her village with her so they could all be screened the same day. In addition to cervical cancer screening, Nyafuru was also offered and agreed to be tested for HIV. She was happy to receive a clean bill of health.
Nyafuru is the mother of four children – three boys and one girl. When asked whether she would vaccinate her daughter against HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer, she stated, “Yes, that is the preferred prevention method for my child to be protected from cervical cancer.”
When asked her thoughts on her experience, she remarked, “Please keep coming to help us, because we need this service here in Tarime.”