Improving cervical cancer screening in rural Kenya
Reuben Murianki Kailikia is a healthcare provider working at Maua Methodist Hospital — a faith-based hospital in Maua Town of Meru County, northeast of Mount Kenya. Cancer is an emerging health problem in Meru county, with cancer of the cervix being the most common among women.
The majority of cases of cervical cancer are detected late, after the cancer has spread and the medical interventions are limited and less effective. Among HIV positive women, the prevalence of cervical cancer is higher and has a more rapid progression compared to those without HIV.
The key to addressing the cervical cancer menace is early detection through screening to allow early intervention.
In November 2016, Maua Methodist HIV Comprehensive Care Centre requested to train their HIV health care providers to improve the quality of care. Reuben was one of those who attended the training.
As part of the training, Reuben identified lack of a cervical cancer screening program as a challenge he wanted to address. Most health workers possessed the basic skills to screen for cervical cancer but were not applying them. Patients had little knowledge concerning the need for screening.
With support from the training facilitators he developed an action plan to improve cervical cancer screening. As part of implementation of the action plan, Reuben conducted refresher training for health workers on cervical cancer screening. The clinical also began regular patient awareness sessions.
After four months of implementation, 70 women had been screened. Twelve of these had lesions suspected to be cancerous. These women were referred for specialized evaluation.
“The AMHF training has really made a difference in our service provision beyond HIV. We are now starting to address other health problems the patients are facing,” says Reuben