January is Cervical Health Awareness Month!

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April 1, 2022

Did you know that Malawi has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer globally? In response, GAIA has supported a Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment Project initiated by Nursing Scholar Alumni since 2017, providing life-saving opportunities for early detection and treatment of cervical cancer at two hospitals in Nsanje District. This scholar-led project utilizes cost-effective methods to detect, treat and prevent cervical cancer across hard-to-reach Malawian communities through:

o  Free cervical cancer screenings and referrals for biopsy or further evaluation as needed;

o   Free immediate treatment for women whose results come back positive for pre-cancerous cells;

o   Follow-up of those who have tested positive but have yet to be treated;

o   Referrals to treatment for more advanced cases or palliative care as needed;

o   Training and orientation of local health workers;

o   Community outreach and awareness raising to educate the local community on cervical cancer, the importance of regular screenings and early detection, and to encourage attendance at one of GAIA’s quarterly mass screening events.

Since its inception, the project has screened more than 3,800 women for pre-cancerous cells – the first step in early detection and treatment. Of those, 100% of women with early-stage positive results were offered treatment and 100% with more advanced cases were referred for biopsy, further evaluation or more specialized care.

GAIA Nursing Scholar Graduates and Nsanje District Hospital staff celebrate the arrival of a GAIA-funded thermocoagulator used to treat women presenting with precancerous lesions.

In 2022, thanks to new funding from the Gilead Foundation, GAIA will use our Mobile Health Clinic infrastructure to conduct community-wide cervical cancer awareness, mobilization, and screening services biannually in the three rural districts where we operate. Mobile Health Clinic clinicians will offer immediate treatment for those found with precancerous lesions and women suspected of having cervical cancer will be provided with counseling and sent to referral hospitals for biopsy and follow-up care.

GAIA is proud to work alongside Nursing Scholar Alumni and community leaders to invest in a future of healthy and thriving women by filling existing gaps in access to female-centered care.

women carrying water pales