x Eve Woman Wellness Readers Lounge Leisure and Travel My Man Bridal Health Relationships Parenting About Us Digital News Videos Opinions Cartoons Education E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise BULK SMS E-Learning Digger Classified The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
Login ×
BTV
VAS
DCX
RMS

Benda Kithaka, working to stop cervical cancer through early detection

Achieving Woman - By Audrey Masitsa | July 24th 2020 at 06:00:00 GMT +0300
Benda Kithaka is working towards sensitizing communities particularly in the rural areas (Photo: Courtesy)

Benda Kithaka has dedicated her life to cervical cancer. The co-founder and chair of Women4Cancer Early Detection and Treatment talks to Audrey Masitsa about the journey towards the fight against this cancer.

How did you get into working to stop cervical cancer?

In 2010, my little sister was told she had cancer. It was pre-cancer of the cervix. It got me wondering how many others needed to know this. In 2012, I met like-minded women, we started the NGO Women4Cancer and started going to communities to sensitise them. Working alone was tiresome and progress slow. So in 2018, it was only natural that we joined others in the same space under the STOP Cervical Cancer Initiative for united action in cervical cancer elimination.

What is the main focus of your current work?

In 2019, I lost a dear friend when the cancer recurred a third time. It was painful to watch her climb that arduous mountain yet again; and succumb to the disease. This made me realise the need to focus on survivors’ quality of life and build a strong approach to Cancer Survivorship in Africa. So right now I'm working with cancer survivors in the #KILELE Challenge; an initiative to climb Mt Kenya as part of finding purpose in a cancer journey.

Tell us more about the #KILELE Challenge.

  1. READ MORE
  2. 1. From teacher to second lady to first lady: What you need to know about Jill Biden
  3. 2. Rev Dr Emily Onyango appointed first woman bishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya
  4. 3. I hawked toothpaste to save up for my own timber yard
  5. 4. Othaya Girls Principal bags AU teacher of the year award

The #KILELE Challenge brings together a group of cancer survivors and caregivers who will climb to the summit of Mt Kenya in September 2020. At #KILELE, we envision a future where women thrive in a more inclusive, just and equitable world; where cancer is yet another challenge that can be overcome, and survivors use their experiences to drive change in health promotion, as they navigate others to reach optimal health.

The aim of this challenge is to help the survivors overcome self-limiting beliefs and social stigma; financial hardship and emotional barriers; all to ensure that they can summit. We see the #KILELE Challenge as a journey in self-discovery.

As part of her advocacy mission she is working with survivors to climb Mount Kenya (Photo: Courtesy)

What challenges do survivors face as regards social integration?

Life for cancer patients changes drastically upon diagnosis. During treatment, many cancer patients feel like their life is on hold. And after treatment, some face challenges getting back into “normal” life. They feel like they can’t or don’t want to go back to the way life was.

Through the #KILELE Challenge we are helping survivors address the four parameters commonly used to define quality of life in cancer survivorship: physical fitness, mental wellbeing, finding purpose, and economic empowerment.

In your work, what stigma have you come across among patients and the community at large?

It is sad that in this day and age, cancer patients still face stigma. Women are particularly vulnerable to stigma as they face challenges associated with the disease itself as well as societal and cultural barriers. These include:

  • Effects of treatment both physical and emotional

  • Social cultural stigma from the community where women face abandonment

  • Some begin to question their spiritual beliefs as they try to find a reason for all the suffering

  • Financial challenges since treatment can put a strain on the family’s finances leaving them impoverished

What challenges have you faced in educating the community particularly in the rural areas about pre-testing and treatment?

It is hard to convince the majority of the people in rural areas that some cancers are preventable. Mainly because cancer takes years to develop in the body, often with no signs or symptoms. Convincing people to go get screened when they are still looking and feeling fine is a real challenge. Then there is the fear of cancer. Especially because many people are diagnosed late and the outcomes are not good. We are working through #KILELE Challenge to sensitise others that prevention is better than cure.

Top Stories

'I cheated at work and now husband wants me to quit job I love'
Marriage Advice - By Mirror


Meghan Markle and Harry's 'billion dollar brand' will be 'catastrophic' for Kate Middleton
Entertainment - By Mirror


Woman dubbed world's first Covid patient who vanished from Wuhan a year ago still missing
Health - By Mirror


Kelly Rowland shows off baby bump as she's days away from due date
Entertainment - By Mirror


'My husband having an affair was the best thing that happened to our marriage'
Marriage Advice - By Mirror


Meghan and Harry's royal exit left 'a lot of hurt feelings on all sides',
Entertainment - By Mirror


Girl code: I should have dated the boring campus guy
Girl Talk - By Beryl Wanga Itindi


Kim Kardashian and Kanye West quit marriage counselling as he 'instructs lawyers'
Entertainment - By Mirror


Rev Dr Emily Onyango appointed first woman bishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya
Achieving Woman - By Derrick Oluoch


US First Lady Melania Trump snubs Jill Biden, refuses to show her around White House
Entertainment - By Mirror


Latest Stories

Kamala Harris to play key role in Biden administration
Achieving Woman - By Audrey Masitsa


What you need to know about incoming United States VP Kamala Harris
Achieving Woman - By Derrick Oluoch


From teacher to second lady to first lady: What you need to know about Jill Biden
Achieving Woman - By Derrick Oluoch


My word: One of many warriors
Achieving Woman - By Christine Koech


Gender inequality: Women bear brunt of increased workload amidst the Covid-19 pandemic
Achieving Woman - By Audrey Masitsa


What you need to know about Nairobi’s first female deputy governor
Achieving Woman - By Lolita Bunde


Rev Dr Emily Onyango appointed first woman bishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya
Achieving Woman - By Derrick Oluoch


Mary J Blige: Overcoming adversity and coming into her own
Achieving Woman - By Audrey Masitsa


Why I chose to be the ghetto doctor
Achieving Woman - By Gardy Chacha


Physical exercise and cuddling my sons are part of my daily routine, ghetto doctor
Achieving Woman - By Gardy Chacha


Stay Ahead!

Access premium content only available
to our subscribers.

Or Login With Your Standard Account
Support independent journalism

Please enter your email address to continue

Support independent journalism
×
Create An Account
Support independent journalism
I have an account Log in
Reset Password
Support independent journalism
Log in