Beyond financial assistance, partners like SOS Children’s Villages International receive additional support through the Trust Secondment Program. The Secondment Program matches the needs of NGOs with the skills of J&J employees who provide long-term support for a sustainable impact. The Secondees on the other hand gain a life-changing and unique experience that contributes to their personal and professional development.
One of our 2016 Secondees was Josi Wey, a Regional Quality and Compliance Senior Manager at Johnson & Johnson Consumer in Germany. Josi was the first Trust Secondee assigned to SOS Children’s Villages International where she supported its Save My Mother cervical cancer awareness campaign in The Gambia during a six-month assignment. I had the chance to interview Josi to learn more about her experience. You can also watch the Save My Mother TV episodes Josi supported here.
Antonio: Your Secondment focused on developing advocacy and communications strategies for the Save My Mother cervical cancer campaign. What are some of the challenges women in The Gambia face related to cervical cancer?
Josi: Cervical cancer is a silent killer here – it is the number one cancer affecting women in The Gambia. There are many women and families who have been affected by the disease but don’t know where to turn to get more information and treatment. Screenings for cervical cancer are rare here due to cultural and religious barriers, with many husbands unwilling to have their wives attend these clinics. Doctors report that one of the main challenges is that patients come to them when the cancer is already in an advanced stage, when there is little that can be done besides provide palliative care.
Another challenge is that women go to separate clinics for HIV treatment, antenatal care, family planning and cervical cancer screening. These clinics all use different approaches to attract women and the messages can be confusing. One of the aims of Save My Mother is to consolidate these health programs, in particular, family planning and cervical cancer and in the future breast cancer, to clarify messages and increase demand for services.