Close to the end of the project I start remembering how it all started.
When I applied for participation in the program I really had a dream to get into an organization related to working with children, but my organization PRRR is engaged in work with HIV-infected patients. I am in no way complaining , but it caused a number of difficulties. Let me explain what it means to work with HIV-infected people in Tanzania:
- It is a prohibition of taking photos of patients.
- If you want to take an interview you need to prepare a special permit as it is confidential information concerning an individual’s life and unfortunately there is a society’s stigma (when a lot of people who share a certain negative conviction related to people who have HIV status show their prejudice and are not ready to accept them as members of society)
There are the difficulties in communicating with patients because very few patients speak English. But you want to do something useful and you don’t know how to do it?!? It is wonderful when your team comes to help you.
Being present at morning lectures of doctors to patients when they have tutorial work I thought it would be nice to help them. But how would I do that? The solution was found soon: promotional materials.
PRRR in Mwanza, Tanzania started its activities in April. Each week the number of patients is growing. Sometimes doctors take up to 20 women per day. During the visit they explain every woman why this is necessary to have a Breast Cancer screening and Cervical Cancer screening. Unfortunately not everyone understands it and agrees on procedure. I decided to help them and create some materials with information about breast cancer and information on how it can be prevented or detected early by means of self-check. I gathered a lot of different materials, combined them and handed to discuss it with my doctors. Dr. Flora was very helpful and she simplified materials to the level of patients, translated all the materials into Swahili so each patient can understand it easily as it is their native language.
As a result PRRR patients will now go home with reminders about a monthly self-check for breast cancer.