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Cervical cancer and treatment for coffee farmers in Kenya


Nyeri team

The Challenge
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women after breast cancer. There are 270,000 cases of cervical cancer each year with over 80% of deaths occurring in resource-limited settings. In sub-Saharan Africa, cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among women.

Project Goals
TREE has partnered with the Ministry of Health, ATLAS coffee, and Othaya coffee farmers’ cooperative society to carry out free cervical cancer screening and treatment in Othaya, Nyeri.

Our Approach
The TREE team has built a strong reputation in Kenya by implementing pragmatic approaches to research that inform Ministry of Health guidelines. Our team includes clinicians, microbiologists, data analysts, community health workers, and human resource staff. We combine a unique and diverse set of skills to deliver high quality health interventions. Over the years we have built relationships with the community, established a network within the Ministry of Health, advanced scientific research in Kenya, and developed the capacity to guide implementation of health programs.

In the United States, about 150 million people drink an average of three cups of coffee every day. Some of this coffee is cultivated by over 6 million Kenyans who are employed directly or indirectly by the coffee industry. Much of the coffee is produced by small, family-owned farms that struggle with poverty, food insecurity, and access to healthcare. In 2015, TREE and a team from Atlas Coffee Importers in Seattle developed a community health program to provide preventative health services including cervical cancer screening and treatment for women on coffee farms.

Operating costs are donated by Atlas and other roasters that purchase the cooperatives’ coffee beans. TREE has partnered with Othaya Farmer’s Cooperative Society Limited, an organization of 19 small coffee factories which sources coffee from family-owned farms in Nyeri County. The program leverages the resources of the coffee cooperatives to mobilize farmers to receive preventative health services.

TREE provides technical expertise, clinical supplies, and resources to provide preventative health services. TREE is not only organizing and executing periodic cervical cancer screening but also investing in training and supportive supervision of health workers to strengthen local capacity for cervical cancer screening.