The Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA) has renewed its work with SURFAID, an international NGO. SIPPA Executive Director, Ben Angoa and SURFAID Operations and Programs Manager, Jodi Cornish signed a Memorandum of Understanding, with SURFAID supporting SIPPA with more than SBD$4m (NZD$1m). SURFAID has been a supportive partner of SIPPA since 2019 through the Women’s Health project. Through SIPPA women were able to access services in cervical cancer screening and treatment, easing pressure on the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Solomon Islands, the first being breast cancer. SURFAID in the Women’s Health Project also worked with communities and health volunteers to develop locally-appropriate information, education, and communication materials, designed to increase community engagement and knowledge about the importance of cervical cancer screening and treatment. In support of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and in partnership with Family Planning Australia (FPA) the project focuses on reducing deaths from cervical cancer by increasing health-seeking behavior, specifically cervical cancer screening. The project also worked directly with communities in Malaita, to train health volunteers from Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA) to become peer educators to increase community engagement and education on key messages of cervical cancer screening. This community education helps to promote health-seeking behavior in women, to inform both women and their partners on cervical cancer facts and to debunk popular misconceptions surrounding the disease including its high costs and that cervical cancer is caused by promiscuity. In the next phase of the activities SURFAID has with SIPPA, Gender-based violence among other issues will be the focus of the work in the country, with cervical cancer screening and treatment, still at the forefront.
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