Cancer is the leading cause of death globally. Over 4000 cases are newly diagnosed every year at the Uganda Cancer Institute and of these over three quarters come with late stage disease where cure is impossible. Early detection and diagnosis of cancers leads to better treatment outcomes. It is therefore against this background that the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) through the Comprehensive Community Cancer Program (CCCP) carries out community cancer screening and awareness creation programs throughout Uganda.
Due to his desire for a healthy and cancer free community, Fr. Cyprian Odongo, the Parish priest of St Mauritz Catholic Parish, Gulu Municipal Council in Gulu district requested the UCI through CCCP to provide cancer screening and awareness creation services to the community of St Mauritz Obiya Palaro and neighboring villages.
Mobilization of clients for the camp was done through the local media (radio stations of Radio Maria and Radio Mega). A talk show was conducted on Radio Maria for 70 minutes which was given free by the directors of the radio station. This was done prior to the activity in order to prepare the masses and also mobilize them to attend this exercise. Announcements were also made at public gatherings like; Catholic churches within Gulu town, Mosques, Protestant churches and also by Honorable Betty Aol Ocan the woman MP of Gulu District. We carried out a two-day cancer screening and awareness creation activity at St Mauritz health centre II in Gulu Municipal.
About 3, 500 people from the community were sensitized about cancer through the different awareness fora both at the facility, church and through the radio talk show. 110 Men were screened for prostate cancer and 212 women for cervical and breast cancer. The team of health workers comprised of seven from UCI and 10 from St Mauritz Health Centre II. The 10 health workers from St. Mauritz Health
Centre II gained skills in basic cancer screening.
The above activity was a success since we were able to reach and cover a big number of people. We hope that more of such activities can be organized and carried out in the community of St Mauritz and we look forward to strengthening the bond between UCI and this community for better outcomes.
Mrs. Paula Akongo (CCCP)