Cervical cancer is the number one cancer killer in Uganda and in most sub-Saharan African Countries.
PIC: Dr Carol Nakisige, a gynaecologist at the Uganda Cancer Institute addresses Kagadi residents at URDT in Kagadi district on Wednesday. (Andrew-Musinguzi)
KAGADI - The Uganda Cancer Institute in Partnership with Kagadi Hospital and Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme has launched early cervical cancer screening, prevention and treatment project in Kagadi district.
The cervical cancer project dubbed, enjoying life and saving women
from cervical cancer programme, was on Wednesday launched at Kagadi Hospital by Dr Carol Nakisige, who represented the Uganda Cancer Institute executive director Dr Jackson Orem.
"Cervical cancer is the number one cancer killer in Uganda and in most sub-Saharan African Countries. In Uganda alone about 4,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year and those who die before reaching the hospital are probably in big numbers," Nakisige said.
She disclosed that over 60% of the women diagnosed with cervical cancer are dead by the end of one year, which translates to seven women dying every day due to cervical cancer in Uganda.
Nakisige said if nothing is done, it is estimated that the numbers will double by 2050.
She applauded Kagadi Hospital administration and Uganda Rural
Development and Training Programme (URDT) for the baseline survey,
training , research and partnering with Uganda Cancer institute and
Ministry of Health to ensure that the cervical cancer project is launched and championed in the District.
Nakisige, who is also a gynecologist, pledged to support the continuity of the programme, rooting for the integration of other services such as
voluntary HIV testing and counselling and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) Clinic.
Dr Isaec Kakibogo, the Kagadi Hospital Medical superintendent, said
cervical cancer screening room has been established at the Health
facility and at least 20 nurses from have been trained to manage the screening and treatment of women diagnosed with early risks of the human papilloma virus (HPV).
He asked the Ministry of Health to upgrade Kagadi Hospital to regional
referral health facility, saying the facility handles many patients from neighboring districts of Kibaale, Kyegerwa, Kyenjojo, Ntoroko and Hoima.
‘'I don't see the why this health facility canott be elevated to a regional referral hospital. Last year, I addressed the same issue to the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda when he visited the hospital."
Also, most services here are supported by the Infectious disease Institute (IDI). We need support from the Government in as far as expansion, human resource, equipment and finances are concerned. Mothers and babies are not sleeping comfortably," Kakibogo.said.
Safina Nyesige, an enrolled nurse in charge of early cervical cancer screening and treatment at the health facility, said in one week of the screening service, out of 82 women who were screened for cervical cancer, five were found positive and were enrolled on treatment
Dr Marlikie Defouw, a support medical doctor, in charge tropical medicine and international health at the Female Cancer Foundation (FCF), said only eleven countries in Africa, including Uganda have had the opportunity to establish cervical cancer projects.
"In order to prevent deaths due to cervical cancer in Uganda, a multi-disciplinary approach is proposed. Early screening for cervical cancer has shown to be the most effective measure against the virus."
Enjoying life and saving women from cervical cancer programme is a pilot project targetargeting the prevention of cervical cancer in Uganda, through the "see and treat'', a methodology approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO)," said Defouw.
Ben Niwagaba, a researcher and dean at African Rural University (ARU) said the data he gathered during the baseline survey and sampling on knowledge and attitude about cervical cancer in Kagadi district indicated that the majority of rural women had less than primary level education and had not heard of about cervical cancer while those who tested positive complained of pain during screening.
Dr Mwalimu Musheshe, the founder and chief executive officer Uganda Rural Development and training Programme (URDT) and vice-chancellor of African Rural University said the life-saving project should be sustained through team work and taking the right actions.
He reasoned that the project should be seen grow up and serve the people of Uganda and Africa as a whole.
Musheshe advocated for visionary planning and systems thinking along with lobbying and advocacy by political leaders.