Cervical cancer is the number-one cause of cancer-related death for African women. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill OB-GYN faculty working in Africa recently partnered with the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation on the first-ever public cervical-cancer screening event in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, screening more than 2,000 women for the disease.
The foundation sponsored the event in collaboration with the United Nations Family Planning Agency (UNFPA) and with the support of the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The services were provided at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in the capital city of Kinshasa, a facility built by NBA legend and Hall of Fame notable, Dikembe Mutombo, in honor of his mother.
All clinical services were executed under the leadership of Groesbeck Parham and Michael Hicks, both gynecologic oncologists and UNC faculty in the Division of Global Women’s Health.
“Dikembe Mutombo is a marvelous human being,” said Parham. “He has a big heart, he backs up what he says, and what he’s doing here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is nothing short of miraculous. I’m really impressed with his hospital – it’s clean, it has systems that operate, and the facilities are first class.”
During the five-day event more than 2,000 women were successfully screened by Congolese nurses who had trained under cervical-cancer screening nurses from Zambia. Women found to have precancerous cervical lesions were treated during the same visit. Those with early stage invasive cervical cancer underwent surgical treatment.