MammaCare Medical Mission for the Women of Uganda
The epidemic of breast cancer became a death sentence for many women in Uganda according to a series of revealing reports. Epidemics expand in the absence of knowledge and training and Ugandan women desperately needed both. They needed a way to identify and report the signs of early breast cancer, a way that could be easily learned and shared among all their sisters and countrywomen. The reports documented that misinformation, delayed detection and lack of knowledge led to advanced, deadly cancers.
Two women, a Ugandan public health professional and an American nurse knew just what to do and how to do it. The MammaCare Method of Breast Self-Examination (BSE) is taught to women’s groups throughout Chicago by Ruth Todd, RNC, BSN, Certified MammaCare Specialist. Mirika Sentongo, MPH, PBT (ASCP), Public Health Professional, attended one such session and was impressed by the thoroughness and accuracy of the skills being taught.
The Todd-Sentongo connection sparked a revolutionary, transcontinental breast cancer program for the women of Uganda. The two clinicians launched a hugely successful fundraising campaign using social media channels, family networks, and partnering with the Uganda Community In Greater Chicago (UCIGC) to raise nearly $7,000 for training Ugandan women to competently perform MammaCare BSE.
In April 2015, the MammaCare Mission team traveled to Kampala, Uganda and surrounding sub-urban communities with 30 sets of MammaCare breast models and materials for training women and workshop facilitators. Over the course of nine days, the team trained 400 women in self-exam and 37 health workers as workshop facilitators.
Ruth Todd, the MammaCare Specialist who directed training and taught BSE at each location, emphasized the importance of making networks with healthcare providers in the area for post-screening care. “Accessing free services is challenging,” says Todd, “We spoke with policy leaders about navigation for getting women into services for treatment and were able to leave the 30 sets of MammaCare breast models with DVDs for continuing education.”
To learn more about this trip and its outcomes, click the link below for the PDF.
For more information about the Uganda Community in Greater Chicago and to view additional photos, visit www.ucigc.org.
Great thanks go out to: the Uganda Community in Greater Chicago (UCIG) who hosted the trainings, Mirika Sentongo whose fundraising and coordination made the trip possible, the 10 Ugandan communities who provided training space and recruited participants, the Mother’s Union throughout Uganda whose initial spark encouraged the large-scale training, and all donors, participants, facilitators, and hosts.