Cervical Cancer Prevention in Kenya: our team in Nairobi

"I have learned a lot today", says Ann. I am not sure if she is telling me so to please me, or because she had actually learned a lot. Probably, the truth lies somewhere in between.

Even though I must admit, that we have shared a lot this week. And I have learned a lot as well. Fact is, the nurses who have been working with the Save my Mother programs in the last four years, have more experience than I have. Especially regarding the target group of the area they are working in. They speak their language, know their cultural habits, conceptions and preconceptions. And so, I learn a lot.

During one of the Focus Group Discussion organised for the phase I evaluation, the clients softly called Ann cucu (to be pronounced as "shosho"), which is the Swahili word for grandmother. She welcomes her clients respectfully and takes the time to answer the questions they bring with them. Which often aren't just about cervical cancer, but reproductive health in general.


The same happened to me when I joined Ann for screening at the Kenyatta University of Nairobi. Except for the tutors, who were being screened as well, the age of the students lied between 20 and 25 years old. Most of them being sexually active only for two or three years.

Some of them arrived late and thus missed the education talk given to them in the morning and weren't sure what the whole happening was about. For some of these young women we chose not to screen them, for the risk of giving them a negative experience and avoid them for coming back when their risk of cervical cancer was actually there. But all of them were helped at the end of the day, either by offering them the education and screening or by answering the many questions they had.

Beside educating the clients, we educated our colleagues in the other health facilities. Even though the nurses from the neighbouring governmental hospital possessed all the equipment and training needed to offer cryotherapy, they weren't aware how to attach the cryogun to the cylinder. Which is a very easy procedure, once you know how it's done. Let's hope they screened and treated some clients by themselves next time Ann will visit them.

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