Dr Amos Mwaka
Dr. Mwaka D. Amos investigated the community awareness, perceptions and beliefs about cervical cancer and factors associated with advanced stage cervical cancer at diagnoses in a referral hospital northern Uganda. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer and leading cause of cancer death among women in Uganda. This study was motivated by the fact that most women are detected with advanced stage breasts and cervical cancer and experience poor treatment outcomes. The study has provided data to help health professionals, ministry of health and policy makers understand reasons for advanced stage cancer at diagnoses and to inform interventions to promote prompt recognitions and help seeking for cancers among women. The study found the following barriers to account in part for advanced stage cervical cancer at diagnoses; health systems challenges, health professionals’ attitudes and conduct, socio cultural perceptions and beliefs regarding causes and preferred treatments for cervical cancer and financial constraints in the community. Dr. Mwaka is designing further investigations regarding breast and cervical cancer; aiming to develop African version of the European Cancer Awareness Measurement Tools, establish the extent to which symptoms of infectious diseases of the cervix and breast mimic and consequently delay detection of breast and cervical cancer, assess the contributions of traditional health practitioners in the care and control of cervical and breast cancers. In addition, Dr. Mwaka is working closely with the Knowledge Translation office of Makerere University College of Health Sciences to translate his findings into policy briefs to guide policy makers regarding use of traditional medicines, possible integrations of traditional practice and biomedical health systems in an effort to promote early detection of breast and cervical cancers, hence improved treatment outcomes.