20 community health care workers received cancer awareness trainings in Rombo
Hosted by the district hospital of Rombo, a one-hour drive to the West of Moshi, the official cancer prevention training started at 10:45. The session was the third and therefore last session for the twenty participants, which were by the large majority women (18 women, 2 men) and community volunteers (18 CV, 1 nurse, 1 nun).
The session began with nurse Adelaida presenting the background of cervical cancer and the importance of screening, with a focus on the situation in sub-Saharan Africa or the developing world, which caught the interest of the participants. The oral presentation was interspersed with questions and small discussions with the volunteers.
Following a short tea break, three further presentations were given; Nurse Adelaida talked about the importance of breast cancer screening, that can easily be learned and practiced by everybody. The use of pictures was very helpful. The training seemed to give the participants the opportunity to speak and discuss very openly. The next presentation was from nurse Anna, addressing esophageal, stomach and colon cancer, including the anatomy. The last presentation came from nurse Lucy and concerned the pediatric acute leukemia, retinoblastoma and Wilms-tumor.
After this long session, the participants were separated in three smaller groups and were invited to discuss the challenges faced during their community cancer work. The discussion was vivid and many difficulties were named: the participants sometimes felt not well accepted by their community because they are not medical professionals. Nearly all the participants complained about the lack of gloves, wound dressing materials and basic medicines such as paracetamol, which further decreased the acceptance by the community. These shortages have placed them in helpless situations regarding the treatment of their patients. Also, they mentioned that their funding hasn’t arrived during the last three months and that they face many troubles for covering the long distances and relied on transportation costs between the different community members. They all emphasized the strong need for further education about cancer in the community and the need for palliative care. Therefore they found sharing the information from these cancer prevention trainings with their community members as important. A big problem is that many patients wait too long until they decide to go to the hospital and seek professional medical help. The volunteers highlighted the lack of education as the main reason. After this discussion session, the participants received their certificates, funds for the transportation costs related to this meeting and a traditional African tissue printed with signs and texts for cervical cancer awareness, followed by a delicious dinner and a photo-session. In total, the participants seemed very satisfied with this training day.