COMMUNITY HEALTH STRENGTHENING PROGRAM
At Cefarh we work everyday for a better healthcare system throughout all the communities we help.
We build connections between communities and healthcare facilities to ensure proper medical care and health screening.
We support health workers and health change agents to improve health problem identification, referrals and reporting.
Working with our local partners in the communities, we provide sexual reproductive health services like family planning methods and sexual education. For us, these are the cornerstones of human rights.
CURRENT ACTIVITIES AND MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS
- Cefarh has put in place health centers and clinics that allow the communities to access the health care services.
In northern Uganda we can count on a Health Centre in Lira city, an Adolescent Clinic in Kole, a Clinic in Minakulu Oyam.
- We set up a community mobile health services focused on cervical cancer screening.
It serves three districts of northern Uganda: Oyam, Kole, Alebtong.
This project itself has helped more than 2000 mothers to know their cervical cancer status and has given access to proper cancer care for 120 women (through the Lira regional referral hospital and Mulago national referral hospital), so far.
SUSAN ON CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING
When we arrived at Susan shop in the village of Kole district, she welcomed us with a beaming smile; one could not tell what the HIV positive, widowed mother of two boys had gone through to show her joy.
Susan survived cervical cancer due to early detection and treatment.
“I used to feel a lot of pain in my lower abdomen and had a bloody discharge which I didn’t understand. I didn’t know I was in the early stages of cervical cancer. I talked to my friends about it and they said I should test for STIs like syphilis or gonorrhea. When I went to the health facility for the checkup the STI results were all negative: everythings was ok from that perspective. The pain was still there so I visited other health centers but none could tell me what the problem was.
My luck changed one day when my friends and I were invited for a workshop at CEFARH foundation Uganda. During that wokshop SRH officers talked about cervical cancer and they explained all the symptoms, even the ones appearing at the earlier stages of the disease.”
Given the signs and symptoms I was already experiencing, I made a decision to go for the screening. I learned that as I am HIV positive, I was at a higher risk of contracting the HPV virus which causes cervical cancer.
I was scared because I thought the screening was a painful procedure but one of the CEFARH officers, Kerobinah, was so kind to reassure me explaining the whole procedure.
The results were positive and when I saw it I panicked. I thought I would die soon leaving my sons all alone. Luckily the cancer was at the early stages, and still treatable. I took an appointment to go to the CEFARH clinic in Kole for my treatment, which I did. After a 3 months review, I was found free of any signs of cervical cancer.
After this experience I decided to become an ambassador in the fight against cervical cancer.
I encourage women to do cervical cancer screening with CEFARH. So far I have encouraged twenty women mostly commercial sex workers. However, more sensitization needs to be done especially on the misconceptions surrounding the screening process. Women need to know how important the screening is for their health, their lives and their families.
SRH specialist on CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING
I commend CEFARH’s efforts for women’s health especially in regard to cervical cancer. In the last month alone together with CEFARH we screened over 580 women and found 36 women positive with the HPV virus – which causes cancer – and these women were immediately treated.
The biggest challenge we are facing is being able to identify the cancer at its early stages: many women come for treatment when it is already too late and very little can be done for them.
I wish that we can reach all the women especially the ones living in rural areas.
MARTIN ON SEXUAL EDUCATION
I am Martin and I am 21 years old. I refer to health Centre ward B, Aboke sub-county
I was attending Primary seven when I got a girlfriend: she was in Primary six. We loved each other and one day we had sex. After one month she told me that she had missed her monthly periods, that she was vomiting every day and that and her mother thought that she was pregnant. The test was positive.
One evening police came to my home and arrested me for impregnating a girl.
I spent two years in prison. When I came back home my parents refused to send me back to school. I discovered that my girlfriend’s parents decided for the abortion in order to send her back to school. I felt miserable: I had lost everything.
In those days CEFARH came to our village community sensitization on sexual health and education. One of the workshops was about condom use. Now I know how to use them and I feel empowered. I know that an experience like that one will never happen to me again. Since then I do my best to advise my friends and young people in my community to use condoms.