Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Visit to Botswana

Posted by On September 1, 2016
The final stop on Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s sub-Saharan Africa trip this summer was to the Republic of Botswana in the second week of August. The focus of the trip was to visit selected health facilities that screen women and treat those with cervical pre-cancer lesions through Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR) support to the National Cervical Cancer Prevention Program (NCCPP) of the Ministry of Health.

The week started with courtesy visits to the Ministry of Health and the United States Embassy in Gaborone. Under the leadership of the NCCPP team, together with in-country partners, the United States Centers for Disease Control (HHS/CDC-Botswana), and the country office of Jhpiego, PRRR’s implementing partner, we visited the health facilities and the respective District Health Management Teams.

The team visited Francistown, Gaborone, Lobatse, Mahalapye, Maun and Selibe-Phikwe. The team observed that cervical cancer screening services were uninterrupted at the health facilities that had been transitioned to the management of the NCCPP in Lobatse and Selibe-Phikwe districts as part of the sustainability plan.

While the health workers shared their experiences, one said: “My dream is to open four additional sites within my district because the program is really saving the lives of our women and I feel that I am making meaningful contributions.”

PRRR has supported the screening of almost 20,000 women using the Visual Inspection method, and treated over 5,000 women that had pre-cancerous lesions with cryotherapy or the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).

To increase population coverage, the districts are planning for and implementing community outreach that take services to where women congregate, rather than waiting for them to come to health facilities.

Health Care Providers in Lobatse District

The NCCPP and PRRR partners work together to ensure that the equipment is working, consumables are available and we are developing local capacity to expand the cervical cancer screening and treatment program to additional districts before the end of the year.

By Dr. Toun Olateju is a Country Program Manager for Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon