The Prevention and Screening Innovation Project towards Elimination of Cervical Cancer (PRESCRIP-TEC) joined the rest of the healthcare service providers in Uganda to commemorate the 37 years anniversary of the ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) which is celebrated every 26th of January
Under the theme; “Our resolute efforts to transform Uganda is a promise we shall fulfill,” the NRM led by the office of the prime minister Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, organized five-days medical camp from Monday, 23rd to Friday, 27th January at All Saints’ Cathedral in Kakumiro district. The camp was participated in by different medical departments like the Uganda redress society, Uganda Cancer Institute, Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, Test and Treat laboratory campaign, Uganda Heart institute, as well as PRESCRIP-TEC
PRESCRIP-TEC is a project three-year project being carried out in rural settings of Uganda, Bangladesh, India, and Slovakia. In Uganda, the project whose focus is on research on increasing the adoption of cervical cancer screening is being implemented by Uganda Rural Development and Training Program, in partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute to provide cervical cancer screening in rural areas of Kakumiro district.
According to Shamim Namagembe the project manager PRESCRIP-TEC in Uganda, the medical camp has attracted a good turn-up from the women from Kakumiro and beyond to embrace the cervical cancer screening services that were being offered at a free cost. She adds that unlike the other PRESCRIP-TEC out reaches where only women between 30 and 49 years are screened, every woman above 25 years of age and was interested was given an opportunity to be screened.
“Those we found with lesions were treated with thermal coagulation and those found to have suspected cancer were referred to Uganda Cancer Institute for further treatment,” Shamim affirms.
Some of the equipment used in screening cervical cancer
Together with a team of 4 health workers led by the URDT nurse Birungi Rosemary, women were always educated first before the actual process of screening using Visual Inspection with Acetic acid (VIA) and administering medicine.
One of the beneficiaries of the cervical cancer screening services thanked URDT for bringing these services within their location since some of them could not access them from the designated sub counties of Birembo, Kisengwe, Mpasana, Kitaihuka, and Masaka. “It is hard for some of us to travel to the selected health centers for the services because of the distance but I am so thankful that they have been brought he in town where every woman around can access them,” she said.
Birungi Rosemary, the URDT nurse said that women turned up in bigger numbers on Tuesday and Wednesday compared to Thursday 26th, the day for the grand liberation day celebrations that were held at Kakyeeka grounds, a venue different from where the medical camp was held, which she attributed to for the low turn up since most of the women opted to go for the celebrations instead.
Aside from the low turn up on Thursday, the PRESCRIP-TEC manager sited a few more challenges such as inadequate equipment due to big number of women that turned up prior to the liberation day, as well as some women that feared on seeing the speculums used doing the screening. She also added that their activities were interrupted by the heavy rains that destroyed some of the equipment and also challenged them when it came storage of some of the equipment.
Shamim however appreciated Uganda Cancer Institute for intervening during the challenges by providing extra disposable speculums as well as helping in storing some of the equipment in their mobile mammography unit.
Philemon Onywalgui, a radiographer at Uganda Cancer Institute applauded the women of Kakumiro district for embracing and taking advantage of the health camp saying it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. He however encouraged men above 39 years to also embrace prostate cancer screening since there was a low turn up for it, which he attributed to the population status of Kakumiro as well as the fact that women seek healthcare more than men
Dr. Pius Akankwasa, a health expert from the office of the prime minister said that the health camp was a good idea spearheaded by the prime minister to benefit he locals in her home district. “The prime minister saw a big gap in health service delivery in her home district and therefore opted for a medical camp in commemoration of this day. However, any other politician from a district that hosts any national event can choose what they want to be done in their district in celebration of that day,” Akankwasa said.
Akankwasa added that government is planning on institutionalizing the medical camp in every district to benefit the locals whenever there is a national event