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Salford charity undertakes vital cancer screening in Africa

Wednesday 3 April 2019

WOMEN in one of the world’s poorest countries are to be screened and offered same-day treatment for cancer by a charity based at the University of Salford.

Knowledge for Change (K4C) are to screen more than 1,000 women for cervical cancer, treat 100 women for pre-cancerous lesions, and train 70 local health workers in screening, diagnosis, treatment and counselling for cervical cancer patients in Uganda. This will be delivered through UN Sustainable Development goals, which focus on health, wellbeing and gender equality.        

Cervical cancer is the biggest killer of women in Uganda where provision and uptake of screening services remains desperately low.          

Five NHS staff, from medical, nursing, midwifery and pharmacy backgrounds, will travel out to Africa as professional volunteers during the project, along with several health students and staff from the University of Salford.

Mobile-phone tech

K4C is committed to improving basic care in the poorest places and its volunteers will combine state-of-the-art technology in cervical screening (the mobile-phone based Enhanced Visual Assessment ‘EVA’ system) with sustainable cold coagulation treatment of abnormal lesions.          

Head of the charity and Chair in Global Social Justice at the University of Salford, Professor Louise Ackers, said: “The plan is to attract hard-to-reach women and achieve a high rate of successful follow-ups. In doing so, we hope to reduce delays and congestion in public hospitals as well as    reducing    mortality    caused    by cervical cancer.”        

The charity trustees include a number of academics within the School of Health and Society, including Professor Anya Ahmed, Dr Chris Coey, Dr John Chatwin, Eileen Cunningham, James Ackers-Johnson, Natalie Tate (PhD Student) and some associate members of staff based in Uganda.          

The charity's mission is to build capacity for healthcare in Uganda and exchange knowledge and skills between British and Ugandan healthcare professionals and students.          

Placements to Africa

To date, 150 Salford students have been out on placement to the country and the research team have published widely about global health, the effectiveness of aid, international development and ethical professional voluntarism.        

As well as providing the treatment, K4C want to encourage women to trust their local health facilities. The project has been made possible after K4C were awarded a Small Charities Challenge Fund by the UK government’s Department for International Development, supporting charities to achieve sustained poverty reduction.              

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt. “I’m proud UK aid is supporting Knowledge for Change to reach marginalised women in Uganda with life-saving cervical cancer screenings and treatment. Small charities do an extraordinary amount of good in the world.              

"They do not allow their size to limit their ambitions and UK aid’s Small Charities Challenge Fund is there to make sure they get the support they need to help us end poverty once and for all.”

Find out more

Holly Attwell

0161 295 5087