KENYA – Amref Health Africa has entered into a partnership with Roche East Africa Limited to implement a two-year program aimed at addressing and reducing the burden of cervical and breast cancer among women in rural and low resource settings using Community Health Workers (CHWs) living with disabilities.
Amref Health Africa’s Global CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi said the organisation is working with county Governments and the Ministry of Health to ensure that CHWs with disabilities are not left out in advancing critical health information to communities.
He noted that since the inception of CHW concept world over, no effort has been put in place to engage women living with disabilities in providing care to cancer patients.
“Persons with disabilities often experience disproportionately high rates of poverty and often face conditions that impact negatively on their health, including lack of access to education, sanitary living conditions, clean water and food security, among others. And while governments cannot offer guarantees against illness or disease, they are responsible for undertaking measures to advance human health, whether in the social, physical, legal, or economic environments,” said Dr. Gitahi.
100 community health workers living with disability will be trained on how to ensure correct information reaches the households, demystify myths and misconception surrounding breast and cervical cancer in seven pilot counties. The number of CHWS will comprise 30 blind persons, 42 deaf, and 28 persons without any disability.
The training entails the use of both face to face and m-Health technology driven leap smart with focus on the community health volunteer basic training topics.
Smart phones will be used to support the deaf in illustrating cases of breast and cervical cancer-screening, symptoms, and interpretation of results.
The Leap’s Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) functionality will be used to train those with visual impairment.
The CHWs will then help in promoting awareness, screening, data collection and reporting, as well as supporting health insurance registration.
“We are working to remove access roadblocks and bring screening to women across Kenya through the new EMPOWER cancer centers. It will be incredible to see what a difference increased screening will make for the women of Kenya. Through this partnership with Amref, we demonstrate that everyone can contribute to the health and well-being of the community,” the General Manager for Roche in East Africa Frank Loeffler said.
Some of the outcomes of the project will include reduced morbidity and mortality rates associated with cancers among women, specifically breast and cervical cancers among women in underserved communities through improving early screening and referral for breast and cervical cancer that leads to early diagnosis and treatment and better outcomes for patients.
Besides providing care to all community members, the project will allow the CHWs to take advantage of benefits of the same health promotion and prevention activities experienced by people without disabilities, thus eliminating discrimination of members with disabilities in supporting community work.