Date Published: 6 August 2013
Cervical cancer screening to be made available to all women in Uganda by 2020
UK academics and healthcare professionals from universities in London and Manchester are about to travel to Uganda this week to assist with the Ugandan Ministry of Health's scheme to makes cervical cancer screening available to all women in Uganda by 2020. The team from the UK is participating in the project as part of the Ugandan Women's Health Initiative (UWHI), which runs a range of projects in women's health and has a major focus on prevention of cancer of the cervix.
The initiative involves several partner organizations including Makerere University, Mulago Hospital, Hospice Africa Uganda, University College London (UCL) and Manchester University. It has helped to screen approximately 20,000 women since its inception in 2005 and has been estimated to have prevented over 1,000 cases of cervical cancer.
Cancer of the cervix is the biggest cause of death from cancer among women in Uganda with over 2,400 women dying from the disease, and over 3,500 diagnosed with it, each year. But UWHI co-chair and founder, University of Manchester Vice-President Professor Ian Jacobs said work by the initiative has shown health workers can successfully apply methods to prevent the cancer by simple and cheap screening methods.
Professor Jacobs said:
" Cervical cancer is a major cause of death and suffering in young women ? but it is an entirely preventable disease with free cervical smears and vaccinations.
_ However in Uganda, without action, cases will continue to rise. Rolling out screening to all women in Uganda, as we have in the UK, is a big challenge but it is deliverable, if we can continue the collaborative team effort to raise the funds required."
The UWHI has already set up and runs two cervical cancer screening centres in Kampala which are recognised centres of excellence in cervical screening in Uganda. It delivers activities through a small team of long-term Ugandan staff based in the country including a medical director, a programme manager and four nurse midwives.
The UK team visiting Uganda includes Shahina Mohamed, UWHI Coordinator and Operations Director at The University of Manchester's Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences. She said:
" In the past five years, many lives have been saved thanks to this initiative. It has focused on not just cervical cancer but helped provide training on how to resuscitate newborn babies and prevent mothers dying from haemorrhage at delivery. There have also been trials aiming to minimise the effects of brain injury in newborns.We want to prevent any more unnecessary deaths and suffering.
_ The UWHI is a not for profit organisation and we are always seeking donations to help extend cervical screening."
University, England (UK)