Breast Cancer Awareness Program in Kenya, Africa

I. Project Overview

The purpose of this project is to assist the Kenyan Breast Health Program in the development of a culturally sensitive survey instrument. This survey will aid in the gathering of information concerning breast health. Once the surveying process is complete these surveys will then be used to analyze the resources needed and will be developed further to increase the knowledge about breast health risks. Finally, programs will be developed that are need based, and focus primarily on education and prevention.

In the summer of 2000 I had the opportunity to study abroad in Kenya Africa. While studying in Kenya it became very apparent to me that there was a dire need for public health initiative. While in Africa I was able to visit various health care facilities and institutions, one of them being the YWCA in Nairobi. It was at the YWCA where we met the founder of the Kenyan Breast Health Program, Julia Mulaha. After becoming informed about the program I became very interested in what the program was attempting to do. Through my studies at Northern I believe that I could be an asset to their program and I plan to return there this summer for my internship. I hope to work along side Julia in planning and implementing health programs that are specific to various communities throughout Kenya. I am applying for this grant to help to alleviate some of the expenses during my visit there.

The internship, which is the final requirement towards my degree, will be worth six credit hours. These credits will be spent researching the need for health promotion programs in the area of breast health. The cost of the internship will be $3,300.

II. Project Description

The internship will begin May fifteenth and continue through July sixteenth 2001. While in Nairobi I will begin working at the YWCA on the Kenyan Breast Health Program.

There is currently virtually no information on the incidence and prevalence of breast cancer in Kenya. Breast health, in general, is not considered a priority and is rarely openly discussed The little information that I have found on the Kenyan Breast Health Program is primarily on the World Wide Web and these articles are mainly Kenyan news articles. I have attached the additional information about the project including the first, and only, KBHP newsletter. (See appendix C)

Julia Mulaha, director of the YWCA in Nairobi, established the Kenyan Breast Health Program. As a woman formerly affected by breast cancer she has gained a passion for education and prevention relating to the disease. Already, she has brought the health issue of breast cancer into the eyes of many Kenyan health officials. (See appendix C) The YWCA's program aims to research the incidence and prevalence of the disease, as well as developing programs to prevent it.

The Kenyan Breast Health Program will be conducted in three phases:

Phase I. Throughot this phase the program will focus on the research of breast health treatment, including the availability of resources for women diagnosed with breast cancer. During this phase surveys will be developed and distributed. (Once the initial survey is completed it will need approval from the IRB.)

Phase II. During this phase the culture specific health programs will be designed and will focus on the needs of the women in Kenya.

Phase III. Phase three will focus on the development of more breast health resources and getting these resources to the rural areas that need them. The program is expected to be into phase one upon my arrival.