Pendo Bukoli, RN, BScN
Since graduating from AKU-SONAM in 2006, Pendo Bukoli, a nurse and midwife, has established 22 cervical cancer screening sites in the Pwani and Mtwara regions of Tanzania. She now supervises these sites and provides training through an organization called Tanzania Health Promotion Support.
“Cervical cancer prevention is a big priority for me as we have one of the greatest opportunities to impact women’s health. With prevention, we can teach an entire community about the disease.
One of our biggest challenges is communicating the importance of routine care to our patients, especially when patients come from different communities than our staff. Through a study we conducted, we discovered that women chose not to get screened in part because of religious or cultural customs.
We already closely monitor staff to make sure they consider the customs of the community they serve, but now we are developing an outreach program specifically for this challenge. We will work with women leaders within communities to talk to other women at ngomas, or traditional dances, about the importance of getting screened, and also to build trust.
Because of my training at AKU-SONAM, I now have the leadership and management skills to take on more responsibility, manage projects and staff, and imagine solutions to challenges like these.”