Morogoro, Tanzania—The Cervical Cancer and Prevention Program (CECAP), a Jhpiego initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Mothers and Infants, Safe, Healthy and Alive (MAISHA) Program in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), has handed-over medical equipment and accessories worth more than $6,300 to benefit women seeking cervical cancer prevention services at the Morogoro Regional Hospital.
The Hon. Lt. Col. (retired) Issa Salehe Machibya was the guest of honor at the handing-over ceremony held at the hospital on August 25. Dr. Frida Mokiti, the Morogoro Regional Medical Officer, and Dr. Safina Yuma from the MoHSW/Reproductive Health and Cancer Unit attended. Also present were the Regional and District Reproductive and Child Health Coordinators and the Morogoro Regional Health Management Team. Jhpiego was represented by Dr. Mary Rose Giattas, Cervical Cancer and Prevention Senior Technical Advisor.
Speaking during the ceremony, Regional Commissioner, Lt. Col. (ret) Machibya said, “On behalf of the people of Morogoro and the Government of Tanzania, I would like to convey our appreciation to the American people through USAID and Jhpiego for selecting Morogoro to be the first region to benefit from this special program for the prevention of cervical cancer in women.”
The equipment handed over will enable hospital clinicians to perform Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for women with early cervical cancer changes identified through screening who need treatment to avoid developing cervical cancer. This service will be available for women seen at Morogoro Hospital and for those referred for cervical cancer treatment from all health facilities and hospitals in Morogoro as well as neighboring regions.
“We thank USAID and Jhpiego for giving us this machine, the regional hospital will now be able to treat early signs of cervical cancer among women we already have screened and identified to have early changes of cervical cancer, some of whom we had referred to KCMC Hospital in Moshi but have failed to go there because of transport cost. These women will now be treated here,” said Dr. Mokiti, Morogoro Regional Medical Officer.
Dr. Giattas, Jhpiego’s Cervical Cancer and Prevention Program Senior Technical Advisor, praised the regional administration and hospital management commitment in making sure many women are reached with cervical cancer prevention services in the region.
“Through their own efforts, the Regional Administration has been able to add five more cervical cancer screening sites in addition to the eight sites we started together. This is very commendable,” she said.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in Tanzania and the leading cause of cancer-related death and suffering among women in the country. Every year more than 6,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,000 die from the disease.
Despite the burden, cervical cancer prevention services are not readily available and many women seek services when the disease is at advanced stage and it is too late to be cured. However, as cervical cancer has a long latency period, usually taking more than 10 years to progress from the initial infection with human papilloma virus, this provides a window of opportunity for early detection and treatment.
In collaboration with the MoHSW, Jhpiego with USAID support has been working in Morogoro region since 2010, supporting the region’s cervical cancer prevention initiatives by establishing cervical cancer screening and treatment services in 8 facilities—six district hospitals and two health centers. In collaboration with Jhpiego, one district—Morogoro Rural District Council—recently added 5 more cervical cancer screening sites in the district.
Jhpiego is also providing technical support on cervical prevention activities at national level and will soon be scaling up cervical cancer screening services to Iringa region.
For more details on the MAISHA Program and Jhpiego activities in Tanzania please contact: Charles Wanga, Jhpiego Publications and Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org; Mobile: +255 784 337232