Paula Dhanda, MD
Paula Dhanda, MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology · Kelseyville, CA

Rwanda 2022: Eradicate Cervical Cancer Program

October 7th
Kigali, Rwanda

Project Description

Every year more than half a million women worldwide are diagnosed with cervical cancer. More than half of these women will die. In Rwanda, the lack of healthcare professionals trained in secondary cervical cancer prevention procedures and inadequate access to equipment has led cervical cancer to be the most common type of cancer-related death in the nation.

This medical mission will be a continuation of Worldwide Healing Hands' (WHH) previous mission to Rwanda. This October, the WHH volunteer team will work with the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) and Brown University to provide training in LEEP and thermal ablation for the University's medical residents. At the conclusion of this mission, our volunteer team will leave more cervical cancer prevention equipment and supplies, allowing CHUK to continue training residents after the departure of our team.

Population Served

The Worldwide Healing Hands volunteer team will work at The University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) and Nyarugenge District Hospital. These clinics are the major referrals sites for the entire population of Rwanda as they are the only hospitals with adequate staff and equipment. They are both located in Kigali and serve the entire population of Rwanda.

The goal of this mission is to reinforce our self-sustaining training program for CHUK's medical residents in the prevention of cervical cancer. This will serve the entire population of Rwanda as mothers are the leverage point: the ones who ensure children get food, education and clean water. By training CHUK's medical residents in screening and treatment of cervical cancer, Rwanda's future physicians will be prepared to protect mothers from dying of cervical cancer.

Expected Impact

This project will provide a sustainable, replicable, and cost-effective program that will help Rwanda become one of the first countries in the world to eradicate cervical cancer.

Our partnership with Brown University will ensure that the training provided to medical staff during our time in Rwanda is reinforced by participation in monthly case review Zoom conferences. Additionally, the University of Rwanda OB/GYN Department will aid in the sustainability of this program by encouraging their medical residents to train rural medical staff in cervical cancer screening and treatment procedures after our departure.

Trip Photos & Recap

The purpose of this medical mission was to provide cervical cancer prevention training to healthcare workers at The University of Kigali Teaching Hospital (CHUK) in Rwanda and Helping Babies Breathe neonatal resuscitation training at Kabale University in Uganda.

During Worldwide Healing Hands' time in Kigali, Rwanda, our volunteer team trained 32 residents in Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA), thermal ablation, and Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). The material covered during this training program will continue to be reinforced by our monthly cervical cancer case studies with CHUK's residents and Brown University. At the conclusion of our time in Rwanda, Worldwide Healing Hands donated over $5,000 worth of medical supplies to CHUK's OB/GYN department. These supplies were integral to the continuation of cervical cancer prevention training at the University.

After crossing the border and driving to Kabale, our team trained 64 physicians in HBB neonatal resuscitation techniques for low resource areas. This training was especially successful as our local partner relayed to us that after our first day of training, one of the residents saved the life of a newborn baby that very night using the techniques our team had taught him earlier that morning. Worldwide Healing Hands also donated thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies, including three new neonatal resuscitation mannequins, for the continuation of this program.