Saving lives through treatment and preventative measures
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), commonly known as chronic diseases, kill nearly 30 million people in developing countries each year. While NCDs are commonly associated with Western countries, nearly three-quarters of deaths are found in low- and middle-income countries. The primary contributors to NCD morbidity and mortality are cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and diabetes.
IMA focuses its efforts currently on screening and treatment for cancer, which is commonly seen as a fatal diagnosis where IMA works in Tanzania.
IMA partners with health facilities and their surrounding communities to screen and treat cervical cancer through low-cost visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and cryotherapy. This disease is seen at very high levels in women in Tanzania (more than 50 percent higher than its neighbors in East Africa), due in part to its association as an opportunistic infection from HIV/AIDS and high HPV prevalence. IMA trains facility-based health care workers in screening, diagnosis and treatment, while it works at the community level to increase awareness on the need for screening. IMA also screens and treats children for Burkitt’s Lymphoma (BL), a common childhood cancer in Tanzania. This fast-onset cancer is highly treatable if diagnosed and treated promptly. IMA trains health care workers to identify BL and provides chemotherapy for treatment, which are difficult and costly for hospitals to obtain.
IMA’s cancer programs have demonstratively saved lives. IMA has treated more than 4,500 children for BL, and hundreds of women for cervical cancer using same-day cryotherapy treatment.
IMA has also strengthened the health system’s ability to deliver these services in the future more sustainably. With BL, for example, IMA trained more than 2,000 health care workers in diagnosis and case management, and developed the country’s first cancer guidelines (BL National Treatment Guidelines).
Cervical Cancer Project
IMA is increasing access to cervical cancer prevention, screening, and treatment in high-prevalence areas. Tanzania hosts one of the world’s highest cervical cancer burdens: Nine times higher than in North America. Leveraging work in Project LEAD’s efforts to address HIV/AIDS, IMA trains health care workers in visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) screening and cryotherapy treatment, provides screening equipment and supplies, and increases community awareness on the importance of screening and early detection. IMA’s projects have screened more than 40,000 women and provided more than 300 women with same-day treatment.
Childhood Cancer Detection and Treatment
IMA helps community and facility health care workers identify and treat BL, a common childhood cancer. IMA trains health care workers to identify BL and provides chemotherapy for treatment, which are difficult and costly for hospitals to obtain. To date, IMA has treated more than 4,500 children and trained 2,000 health care workers in case management.