Cancer Prevention and Education is one of BHA’s four areas of focus, along with Water System Improvements, Improving Women’s Health and Meeting Urgent Needs.
BHA’s Cancer Prevention and Education efforts are spearheaded by Dr. Lowell Schnipper, Theodore W. and Evelyn G. Berenson Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Field of Oncology at Harvard Medical School, and in close cooperation with St. Albert’s and Karanda mission hospitals.
These life-saving cancer-prevention programs have been made possible by the generous support of our donors and the Sarita Kenedy East Foundation.
Preserving the health of mothers is critically important for maintaining the health of families and communities. Cervical cancer is the largest cause of cancer death in women in Zimbabwe. The striking prevalence of this largely preventable disease is due to the lack of widespread screening, early detection and treatment.
In collaboration with St. Albert’s Mission Hospital and Karanda Mission Hospital, BHA initiated a cancer screening project that uses a relatively low-tech method called Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Cervicography (see VIAC and How It Works ).
The procedure is endorsed by the World Health Organization as an effective, inexpensive approach to reducing cervical cancer incidence in under-resourced nations. The Zimbabwean Ministry of Health fully supports this initiative and is hoping to extend such programs throughout the nation, but their efforts are severely limited by the absence of resources.
The fundamental premise of this cancer-prevention program is that identifying and treating pre-cancerous lesions will prevent full-fledged cervical cancer from developing. The data collected by both programs indicates this goal is being realized. An additional benefit of the program is the discovery of other problems such as cervicitis, polyps, and schistosomal infections, which are relatively easily treated.
World-wide, tens of thousands of lives have been saved and illness prevented through detection of pre-cancerous abnormalities.
- Cervical Cancer Screening Program
Cancer education promotes cancer awareness, screening and early diagnosis. It also reduces unnecessary suffering caused by cancer stigma and promotes HIV/AIDS prevention by helping people understand the links between HIV infection and cancer.
BHA provides cancer education through outreach initiatives at remote clinics and by organizing cancer education workshops at St. Albert’s and Karanda mission hospitals.
See the 2017 and 2018 Accomplishments pages for examples of these community outreach awareness efforts
BHA has also organized cancer education workshops for nurses, midwifes and other staff at St. Albert’s and Karanda mission hospitals. These workshops use videos and other materials from an online cancer course offered by The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute called Introduction to the Science of Cancer.
- Cancer education workshops
- Designed for nurses, midwives, hospital staff, medical students and, ultimately, mid-level influencers such as social workers, reporters and editors and secondary schools.
- Evaluation Results from Understanding Cancer Workshops