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We celebrated Mrs. Susan Banda, whom I met for the first time on a trip to Zambia in April 2012. She joined the Zambian cervical cancer prevention program in November 2005 as one of the first nurses to be recruited and trained in visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and cryotherapy, a simple diagnosis and treatment technique for pre-cancerous lesions. As of June 2013, Susan had screened over 10,000 women using VIA. She also was the first Zambian nurse to perform Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for management of pre-cancerous lesions, a procedure usually performed by physicians. She has performed over 1,000 LEEPs and helped train physicians in the procedure. Her diligence and extraordinary skills prove that success can be achieved with excellence.
We also celebrated Miss Chalwa Hamusimbi. Chalwa joined the Zambian cervical cancer program in late 2005. She was one of the first four nurses to be recruited. By June of this year, she had screened approximately 12,000 women (11,000 women in static clinics and over 1,000 in mobile clinics), and performed over 1,000 cryotherapy treatment procedures for pre-cancerous lesions. She is an amazing trainer who has helped open four clinics in Zambia’s efforts to scale up services across the country.
In the past, only physicians performed the screening and treatment for cervical cancer, which limited access to important health care for women. With support from Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, the Centre for Infectious Disease Control in Zambia (CIDRZ), recently designated as the African Center for Women’s Cancer Control, is continuing to address this challenge by shifting tasks to lower-level health workers and training nurses like Susan and Chalwa. Since Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon was launched in Zambia in December 2011, almost 100 workers have received training in “See and Treat” at CIDRZ, including more than a dozen health workers from Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Through the newly trained providers, CIDRZ has screened over 115,000 women. In the last 18 months alone, over 40,000 women have been screened. By task-shifting the “See and Treat” approach to nurses and midwives, thousands more women now have access to lifesaving cancer services.
The hard work illustrated by Susan, Chalwa, and those at CIDRZ is just a sample of many working to save women’s lives in developing countries. They represent the unsung heroes in public health. Although they do not work for accolades, we at Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon celebrate them and their achievements as we continue to support Zambia and other countries in the fight against cervical cancer.
14 Things to Know About the Life-Saving Work of PEPFAR on its 14th Anniversary
This weekend marks the 14th anniversary of PEPFAR, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which President George W. Bush signed into law on May 27, 2003 as part of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003. Since then PEPFAR has saved nearly 12 million lives. Here’s a look at 14 interesting facts about PEPFAR, which has lead the progress in the global campaign to end AIDS. In 2003, at the signing of the PEPFAR legislation, less than 50,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa were on antiretroviral treatment (ART) for HIV/AIDS, now 11.5 million individuals are on ART due to PEPFAR. 99.5 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women are receiving ART, a more than 40 percent increase since the beginning of 2014. This has led to nearly 2 million babies being born HIV-free to infected mothers. Since the start of PEPFAR, new HIV Infections have declined 51 to 76 percent. Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) can reduce men&rs
President and Mrs. Bush's Visit to Namibia and Botswana in Photos
They delivered a message to Congress and all Americans: lives in Africa matter.
Building on America’s Leadership in Global Health
The new administration should stay the course as a strong leader in global health. This is a bipartisan effort, as both sides of the aisle have agreed on the importance of health care investments through successive Congresses and administrations, reflecting the priorities of the American people.
7 Things to Know about PEPFAR on World AIDS Day
Today marks World AIDS Day: a day to honor those lost, celebrate the global progress made in the fight against AIDS, and commit to put an end to the disease. In 2003, at the signing ceremony for the legislation that enacted the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), President George W. Bush said, “We believe in the value and dignity of every human life. In the face of preventable death and suffering, we have a moral duty to act, and we are acting.” Since then, PEPFAR has delivered life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART) to 11.5 million people, and nearly 2 million babies have been born HIV-free with PEPFAR support. PEPFAR’s success contributes to a coordinated global effort to end AIDS. UNAIDS reports that since 2000, 18.2 million people have access to treatment for HIV, new infections of HIV have decreased by over 1 million infections, and AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 1.4 million. There is real hope for endin