IMA World Health/ Emily Esworthy

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.

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“I thank God for this opportunity.”

— Nyangeta, cervical cancer survivor

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.