In April 2019, a CMMB community health volunteer visited Velentina  at her home for a routine household visit. A 57-year old widow and mother of three, Velentina lives in a rural village in the heart of southern Kenya. During the household visit, Velentina learned about the risk factors for cervical cancer, as well as the importance of early screening and diagnosis

This visit from a CMMB community health volunteer helped save Velentina’s life. She is living proof that cervical cancer can be overcome through early screening and treatment.

Examination at Our Lady of Lourdes Mutomo Mission Hospital

Velentina took the lessons from the CMMB community health volunteer visit to heart. The following week, she decided to visit Our Lady of Lourdes Mutomo Mission Hospital for a cervical cancer screening test.

During the examination, Velentina’s trained nurse found a suspicious lesion and referred her to Kitui County Hospital for a biopsy to be done under the county gynecologist. Two weeks later, the hospital called Velentina to come in for her results. To her dismay, the biopsy confirmed that she indeed had stage-two cervical cancer.

A mother holding her child walks into the Mutmo Mission Hospital in Kenya in 2018

Our Lady of Lourdes Mutomo Mission Hospital

Velentina attended all diagnostic appointments and the clinical staff gave treatment options. After treatments and consulting with her doctor, Velentina decided to have a total hysterectomy. In March 2020, Valentina underwent successful surgery at St. Mary’s Mission Hospital in Nairobi, where she stayed for a week. Upon discharge, Valentina’s medical team booked her three-month follow-up appointment at the outpatient clinic.

Velentina Wins Cervical Cancer Fight

When the COVID-19 travel restrictions prevented Valentina from attending the appointment in Nairobi, the clinical staff at Our Lady of Lourdes Mutomo Mission Hospital were able to conduct a follow-up examination. Velentina was declared cancer-free.

Velentina is now living cancer-free and is hopeful about the future and her family. She continues to use her story to educate other women in her community about the need for early screening and treatment. Velentina has become a champion for promoting cervical cancer screening and uses her experience to shine a light on the burden of cervical cancer. She is living proof that cervical cancer can be overcome through early screening and treatment.

Nurse Mary trained by CMMB to conduct cervical cancer screenings in Kenya in June 2020.Mary Nzembi, CMMB-trained Nurse

Partnering to Fight Cervical Cancer

Velentina’s experience—community-level awareness, initial screening and referral by a trained clinician, and successful follow-up—would not have been possible without the generous partnership of Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation.

Since 2017, CMMB has partnered with the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation to respond to cervical and breast cancer in Kitui South, Kenya. Together, we have worked to raise awareness about the importance of vaccinating women and girls, train health professionals on how to perform cervical cancer and breast screenings, and provide essential medical supplies for the screenings.

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