Mamma Care Goes to Uganda

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In 2008 my then graduate school instructor Bette Lawrence-Water invited us as students to attend Messages of Hope Community Conversations. Messages of Hope was a forum Bette had been instrumental in founding in an effort to create a roundtable where African American women and women of African descent could meet and talk about health issues that remained disparately high in their communities. In line with Breast Cancer Month observance the theme was breast cancer awareness with an emphasis on prevention and early recognition. This was my first encounter with MammaCare Self-Breast Examination Method and Ruth Todd, a MammaCare Specialist & Instructor at Alexian Brothers Health System. Attending the presentation was eye opening; it was everything I knew to work right in public health education. The method was low tech, simple to understand and follow. It was based on sound scientific research and had been found to be effective.
A year later I invited Ruth Todd to bring the MammaCare presentation to Uganda Women’s Forum UWF, a community of women of Ugandan decent living in the Greater Chicago area. The community was hurting at the time from recent losses of two of its own - both cancer patients diagnosed in advanced stages. Last year UWF invited a visiting team from Mothers’ Union Church of Uganda MU-COU, led by Vivianne Igunduura, to stop by on route home and talk to the community at its first ever Family Health & Life Mini-Conference. Ruth once again obliged at my request to provide a mini-workshop just for the team – and so was born the thought to find a way to introduce Mamma Care Method of SBE to women in Uganda.

MammaCare Method of self-breast examination (MC-SBE) or MammaCare in short, is a standardized method for proficient manual breast examination. The method was developed based on research that showed that 15 year survival nearly doubled when a breast tumor was diagnosed at peanut size (1-10mm, 90%) compared to walnut size (21-50mm, 40-50%). Through a joint support initiative of the US National Cancer Institute and National Science Foundation a method was developed to train women and clinicians to perform a systematic breast examination that enhanced likelihood that breast tumors could be detected early (Narod, 2012). The system uses manufactured high-fidelity tactually accurate breast models with small, simulated lesions similar in consistency to real tumors. Using these breast models a MammaCare specialist certified to conduct training shows women to teach their fingers to feel for and detect the smallest palpable tumors in performing a systematic SBE. MammaCare specialists are also certified to conduct clinician training to perform quality-standard clinical breast exams for women as part of regular periodic preventive care visits. MammaCare is the recognized standard for SBE and clinical breast exams.

MammaCare Method SBE Awareness Campaign Workshops
Breast cancer is the third commonest cancer in Ugandan women. Although incidence is highest in developed regions, mortality rate due to breast cancer has steadfastly remained much higher in less developed countries. The typical patient in Uganda first presents with advanced disease. Studies have shown that the higher rate of mortality is largely the result of the confluence of an array of environmental factors (Appendix Step: 3). Today, as in times past the conditions contributing most significantly to poor out comes are amenable to public health and environmental evidence based interventions. The conditions include misinformation or lack of information, social stigma, economic and access barriers to health care services (Gakwaya et al., 2008; Grady & Bakyawa, 2013; Harding et al., 2011; Kiguli-Malwadde, 2011). Hence the proposal to throw the weight of efforts behind prevention and control of factors producing the poor outcomes in the first place.

What is Project MC-SBE Workshops 2015?
Project MammaCare Self Breast Examination 2015 is primarily an awareness campaign whose main objective is to introduce the concept of self-breast examination to women ages teen and above, health care providers and influencers of health policy in the Kampala city metropolitan area in Uganda. The campaign consists of a series of workshop presentations that teach and demonstrate the Mamma Care method of self-breast examination.


Mamma Care Medical Mission to Uganda 2017 is a mission to train and certify three MammaCare Specialists to be instructors based at Uganda Christian University UCU’s Health Sciences and Medical Schools. The newly certified instructors will lead MammaCare Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) instruction for women’s healthcare providers and oversee MammaCare Breast Self-Examination (BSE) training and instruction for community education efforts.


 UCIGC Hosts Mamma Care Goes to Uganda Mission 2017


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