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International Breast Cancer Awareness month is ongoing. Activities are planned to educate and spread awareness on the severe disease that is Breast Cancer. In the spirit of learning, On the 14th of October, Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital held its Continuing Medical Education sessions in collaboration with Dr. Maria Vittoria De Vita and Dr. Dan Ouko. This week, the training focused on the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection that leads to cervical cancer.

The seminar began with Dr Maria explaining what the virus is and how it affects women all over the world, stressing on the fact that Cervical Cancer is the second most prevalent Cancer in Kenya. Focusing on the pediatric population, the presentation tackled the vaccine’s options and the specific program rolled out in Kenya from October 2019. Vaccine was one of the prevention strategies, which is associated with the screening methods.

As discussed, HPV and related lesions can be detected through one of two methods: pap smear being one of them. Detection of the infection, pre-cancer and cancer is important in preventing severe forms of Cervical Cancer.

Dr. Ouko, continued the seminar by explaining the second method: Via/ Villi. This is another detection method often used in low resources areas due to the costly nature of pap smear. Similar to Breast Cancer, early detection is important in order manage the diagnosis.

Although check-ups for HPV are often done after the age of 25, those under said age are still recommended to get checked and learn how to prevent contracting the infection. One of the prevention methods is the vaccine for the children and young adults, which is available to people up to the age 26 and in selected hospitals around the country now also in Kenya, thanks to the support of GAVI.

The prevalence of HPV in Kenya is startling, it is through such discussions that we can enforce the importance of awareness, not only of HPV but also Cervical Cancer, as preventable not only treatable. Through education seminars like the Continuing Medical Education, awareness of this disease can be increased and help the prevent many women and members of the youth from contracting it. The work and commitment of World Friends to provide constant training to local health personnel continues and translates into initiatives such as Continuing Medical Education sessions.

 

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