An integrated approach to women’s healthcare

200 kilometers. That’s the distance separating Zurich and Geneva. It’s also what stands between some Kenyan women and access to healthcare.

In Kenya, women must often endure long and arduous journeys to reach the nearest hospital and access critical cancer screening tools. In addition, systemic challenges such as lack of screening and diagnostic capabilities, low human capacity, infrastructure, and funding for drugs, limit women’s access to the care they are entitled to, leading to poor outcomes.

EMPOWER is a partnership between public, private and not-for-profit organisations. It aims to help break silos and overcome system challenges by establishing clinics that provide integrated care for breast and cervical cancer. Since it first launched in 2019, 19 clinics have been established across Kenya.

But while women's health has long been looked at with a focus on specific body parts, EMPOWER challenges that thinking and looks at each woman holistically. More than 60,000 women have received integrated screening for breast and cervical cancer, with over 17,000 screened for hypertension and diabetes. In addition, 4,000 people were screened for prostate cancer. Over 1,000 patients were found to have abnormal findings and were able to access additional diagnosis and treatment services.

screened including for breast and cervical cancer.

screened including for diabetes and hypertension.

screened including for prostate cancer.

This integrated and woman-centric approach to care has expanded horizons and paved the way for more possibilities beyond breast and gynecological cancers, while also sparking a broader engagement with families and the community to raise awareness, increase screening and improve healthcare for all.

Empowering women lies at the core of our ambition to transform healthcare and while progress has been made, we know we can do more. And we know we can’t do it alone. Partnerships like EMPOWER that combine knowledge and expertise across sectors are key to finding solutions that address inequities, and will help improve women’s healthcare journeys.

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