Scaling Up for Women’s Health, Standing Up for Women’s Rights April 9, 2013 by jamiep
By: Hillary Okhidi Omala, Executive Director; Nick Johnson, Communications Intern
Every woman deserves a healthy life, no matter where she lives or what she has. This applies to all sorts of healthcare treatments: proper nutrition, sexual and reproductive health issues, as well as avoidance of temporary and terminal illnesses. One such terminal illness is cervical cancer, to which many Kiberan women are susceptible. Since affordable care and screening services for cervical cancer in Kenya are few and far between, the Tabitha Medical Clinic (founded with a mere $26) has now scaled up its services to offer cervical cancer screenings.
A large number of women in Kibera have never been able to be checked for cervical cancer, whether it is because of day-long work and business or local myths and fears about the screenings. However, no woman in Kibera ought to die of cervical cancer; it develops slowly after the initial infection and, unlike most other cancers, is preventable when precursor lesions are detected and treated.
Screening is now available to all women of reproductive age in the community for prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment. Launched in December 2012, the program has cumulatively provided the services to over 70 women, also extending services to women infected with HIV/AIDS or who are at high risk for being infected. The clinic also provides education on cervical cancer to ensure that more women know about the benefits of early detection and can participate in cancer control and prevention.
Carolina for Kibera has responded to a significant need in Kibera. In this resource-limited setting, healthcare funding and infrastructure are typically inadequate for primary care and prevention programs like cervical cancer screenings. As a result, women are significantly more vulnerable. The Carolina for Kibera Cervical Cancer Screening Program supports women and healthcare providers to help ensure that as many women as possible benefit from these new life-saving services. It also works to dispel the previously-held, discouraging idea that such services are only available in big hospitals and come at a great cost.
Each woman is counted and counts. Every woman merits the opportunity to avoid cervical cancer, no matter where she lives. This is what CFK, through its Health Service Department, stands for through this noble program, and we are proud to be developing functional strategies to see that all women have access to the healthcare services that they deserve.