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Meet the Women Who Power Go Further in Malawi

These leaders use their own experiences to share the importance of cervical cancer screening, especially for women living with HIV.

Article by Crystal Cazier December 1, 2020 //   3 minute read

Expert clients are key in connecting women living with HIV to cervical cancer screening. These leaders use their own experiences to share the importance of cervical cancer screening, especially for women living with HIV. Because expert clients engage with women and men in the clinic and in the community, they not only encourage women living with HIV to screen for cervical cancer but encourage men to support women’s health. Expert clients know that if a woman suffers, her whole family suffers, but if women are healthy, everyone in the household benefits.

Lusubilo, a nurse at Salima District Hospital in Malawi, dedicates her days to screening women for cervical cancer and providing treatment for precancerous lesions if needed. She makes sure to keep diligent records of all the clients she has seen and follow up when she refers someone for suspected cancer or further treatment. She prepares each woman for her exam by carefully explaining the procedure and making sure the client feels comfortable. With myths about cervical cancer screening prevalent in Malawi, Lusubilo’s role as the direct care provider for women is a critical in the success of Go Further.

Malita is a 44-year-old woman living with HIV. She was first screened for cervical cancer in 2018 and is now taking the message of the importance of cervical cancer screening to other women in her community. She tells them that when they find signs of cervical cancer early, they’ll be okay, but they should not wait until they have symptoms. Because Malita has been screened for cervical cancer and knows she is free of the disease, she feels more relaxed and confident that she can continue living a healthy life, encouraging other women in her community, caring for her children, and supporting her relatives.

Before Go Further supported Salima District Hospital in Malawi to scale up their cervical cancer screening program, Grace, a 40-year-old mother of six children, visited the hospital three times, each time being turned away because supplies had run out or a clinician was not available to screen women on that day. When Grace learned that Go Further was now supporting cervical cancer screening services, she gathered a group of five friends and headed to the hospital. All the women were screened on the same day. Grace says that it’s only a healthy woman who can be a productive woman. She is glad to be on treatment for HIV and have access to cervical cancer screening.