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Agnes’ Story: Helping Tribal Women Now

Posted by On November 18, 2016

Did you know that we are Helping Women Now® in places as far as the Republic of Zambia? Thanks to the incredible efforts of our partner Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR), we are able to reach Zambian women with breast health education as an extension of their Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme.  As with our programs here in the U.S., the success of these efforts could not be accomplished without the caring people who join us in this important work.

One of those outstanding individuals is Agnes Musonda, a Health Promotion Manager in Zambia.  Like patient navigators here in the U.S., Agnes plays a critical role in eliminating barriers and opening doors for the women she serves.  One way she does this is by collaborating with Zambia’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs.  By securing buy-in from key decision makers, she is able to provide more opportunities for women in need.

Agnes then works closely with traditional leaders and advisors within each tribe who agree to include Agnes in the tribal meetings they conduct with their people.  During these meetings, Agnes discusses the importance of screenings and encourages eligible women to access the free health screenings available to them.  Due to cultural norms within Zambia, another important aspect of these outreach efforts is including both men and women in the meetings so both genders recognize the importance of being proactive about cervical and breast health.  This helps ensure women have adequate support and encouragement to learn to be more proactive with their own breast health.  As a result, thousands of women are receiving free screenings through this program.

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While most of the outreach efforts are conducted in person, Agnes and the Health Promotion Team continue to innovate to find new ways to reach more Zambians with this potentially life-saving breast health education. They recently partnered with Radio Bangwela 89.7 to conduct live phone-in interviews regarding breast and cervical cancer screening services. There was a tremendous response from the community as many listeners called in with their cancer questions.

The impact of this work is powerful as thousands of Zambians are being educated, empowered, and screened…and we are grateful to play a part in this.  We thank Agnes and the Health Promotion Team, as well as the entire Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon organization, for extending the mission of Helping Women Now® beyond our borders.

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This post first appeared in the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Blog