Community Outreach and Education

 

The 4 th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk – University of Rwanda School of Nursing and Midwifery was a Huge Success!!!

The 4th annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, organized by the Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa Inc. (BCIEA), took place on Saturday, October 22, 2016, to draw attention to breast cancer in Rwanda. This year, the five-kilometer walk, known as the Ulinzi Walk, started and finished at the Christ Church of Rwanda (CCR) in Gacuriru. The University of Rwanda School of Nursing and Midwifery played an important part in the success of this annual program.

There are some improvements with breast cancer awareness and treatments in Rwanda, but more needs to be done. In a study conducted in Rwanda by Pace et al. (2014), the median patient age was 49 years and 76% had stage III or IV disease at diagnosis, meaning cancer had already spread to lymph nodes.

After the walk, there were many opportunities to learn more about breast cancer awareness and education beginning with the oral presentations from survivors (both women and men), patients, medical doctors, advocates and community leaders. Registered Midwives from the Rwanda Association of Midwives provided free clinical breast exams and instruction on self-breast exams.

 

For the first time, the Rwanda Breast Cancer Awareness Survey was conducted, not only to collect data on those attending the event but also help increase awareness and knowledge among the participants. Ninety-five women and men completed the survey, which was nearly half of those who completed the walk. The researchers (four midwives and one nurse) included Joy Bahumura, MPH, RM; Josephine Murekezi, MScM, RM; Ruth Sego, MScN, RN; Richard Nsengiyumva, BScNM, RM; and Pamela Meharry, Ph.D., CNM.

 

In the future, the midwives from the UR Midwifery Department hope to partner up once again with the Rwanda Pharmaceutical Students Association who provided free glucose and blood pressure screenings at the event. They have tentatively agreed to a January 2017 rural community event. This activity will provide an opportunity to use the Rwanda Breast Cancer Awareness Survey in another population, in addition to conducting subsequent surveys at the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk.

 

Breast Cancer Screening performed on 136 women during this successful event. There were six women found to have suspicious nodules. A gynecologist physician was available for immediate consultation. If any suspicious nodules are found to be positive for Breast Cancer, an immediate referral was initiated to the Butaro Hospital for Oncology consultation.

 

 

 

Joy Bahumura, MPH, RM assistant lecturer  Midwifery Department, University of Rwanda School of Nursing and Midwifery,  talks about the Rwanda Breast Cancer Awareness Survey.