Visiting Uganda

A few months after I first met the See & Treat team in Uganda, the time has come; the introductory training can start! Together with Carlien Marree, FCF program director, I am in Kagadi (Western Uganda) for a week to teach the team the ropes and discuss with them how to implement a See & Treat project in this area. We had expected a small team, but our expectations were exceeded by an enthusiastic group of women and a few brave men. Most of the team members know (stories of) women affected by cervical cancer. As in many other low-income countries, this cancer is the most common cancer among women in Uganda. The team is determined to change this.

During introductory training, team members practice giving information and to invite women for screening. This is also a new experience for us because it reflects local, cultural customs and beliefs; for example, this team improvises a drum of water bottles to alert the "village" that there is an information session. Then the nurse is enthusiastically subdued with questions such as:

"Can my husband also come for screening?"
"Can I still have children if you freeze my uterus?"


Team members worked in groups to formulate "the message" to women; why screening all women is important. One of the nurses presents the message.

All of them are important questions and of great importance to think about them in advance and gain knowledge to be able to answer such questions. The role plays also sometimes produce funny slips of the tongue, such as "cervix squeezing" instead of "cervix screening. Moreover, translating English terms into the local language Runyoro is quite tricky in some cases.

At the time of writing, the project team along with the nurses and midwives of the health centers in Kagadi district of Kampala are being trained in the medical aspects of the See & Treat method. Nice to see how curious and eager everyone is and I look forward to supporting the first screening in Kagadi!

Read more about the Project in Uganda here.

Marlieke de Fouw
October 2017