Home Visit

Home Visit
A group photo after interacting with a rightsholder's family

Engaging cancer survivors is so impactful in the fight against Cancer

In the fight against Mental health predominantly among women affected by cancer, it has been noted that Gender Based Violence (GBV) cannot be taken lightly. The punitive reality frequently involves abandonment, eviction from rented houses, physical and emotional abuse, isolation, and even forced sexual intercourse. Recognizing this, Uganda Women’s Cancer Support Organization (UWOCASO), with support from VOICE, conducts home visits under the” Mentally Cancer Free and Thriving “project in Mende Subcounty, Wakiso District.

Under this activity, a team from UWOCASO and BUHOP comprising of UWOCASO Survivors, psychosocial support officer and champion visit cancer patients and survivors’ homes with the aim of understanding the Social – environmental conditions of rightsholders and their families as well support them in psychosocial challenges through sharing cancer journey experiences and giving them hope to cope with the emotional stress they encounter during the cancer journey.

Currently, 29 patients have been visited including 11 male and 17 females. 1 patient among the women died and 59 patients have been identified for visiting. During the visits cancer patients/ survivors share their cancer journey stories which seemly indicate sadness as they narrate but later the patients get hope after talking to UWOCASO survivors. Many women with or affected by cancer are exploited by their male spouses which brings additional stress and mental challenges hence withdrawing from cancer treatment. In contrary, male patients get a lot of support from their female spouse/ wives during the cancer journey.

“My husband left me when I got breast cancer, he took everything from the house and left nothing for me and my children, he went away and married another woman, I have been working for my children, but he comes and take food (matooke) from my banana plantation. Currently, in this hard condition you see me in, he wants to sell a portion of this land where we get food from and whenever he comes here, he abuses me and is threatening to come and kill me with my sick breast. A rightsholder narrates.”

It was noted that, some caretakers/ relatives have already given up on their patients and started pronouncing them dead, others were crying Infront of the patients which scares the patients more causing them to lose hope and becoming mentally challenged.  During our visit, a caretaker expressed herself in tears saying that;

Aunt eat your cock now before you die, you can’t survive cancer. Sell all your assets and enjoy it before you die.”

The project served as an eye-opener for rights holders and the Mende community. The exposure that many women experience GBV after a cancer diagnosis, with men chasing their wives away and remarrying, highlighted the urgent need for intervention.  A rightsholder, expressed the impact of these home visits on his confidence to cure against cancer.

“Visiting my house and seeing cancer survivors has been helpful to me, I had given up on myself and had decided to stay home and die. I thank the VHT who helped me by taking me to the hospital for support, I have hope to survive cancer.”

A team sharing with a rightsholder.

In this project, survivors play a very big role during these home visits because most people want to believe by seeing and these survivors willingly show their breast surgery scars to people so that they can believe them. This has helped rightsholders/ cancer patients and their families to rebuild hope and improve their mental wellbeing in line with surviving cancer.  UWOCASO has embraced patients’ navigation by survivors who are using their personal experience to strengthen other cancer patient mindset in the fight against cancer.

“It’s true, this lady has one breast, she survived cancer, I should stop crying because I know I have seen it and I believe that my patient will get through it, she will survive like this lady. A caretaker narrates with smiles on her face”.

Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher”  OPRAH

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *