From Community Laywomen to Breast Health Workers: A Pilot Training Model to Implement Clinical Breast Exam Screening in Malawi.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer burden is high in low-income countries. Inadequate early detection contributes to late diagnosis and increased mortality. We describe the training program for Malawi's first clinical breast exam (CBE) screening effort. METHODS: Laywomen were recruited as Breast Health Workers (BHWs) with the help of local staff and breast cancer advocates. The four-week training consisted of lectures, online modules, role-playing, case discussions, CBE using simulators and patients, and practice presentations. Ministry of Health trainers taught health communication, promotion, and education skills. Breast cancer survivors shared their experiences. Clinicians taught breast cancer epidemiology, prevention, detection, and clinical care. Clinicians and research staff taught research ethics, informed consent, data collection, and professionalism. Breast cancer knowledge was measured using pre- and post-training surveys. Concordance between BHW and clinician CBE was assessed. Breast cancer talks by BHW were evaluated on a 5-point scale in 22 areas by 3 judges. RESULTS: We interviewed 12 women, and 4 were selected as BHWs including 1 breast cancer survivor. Training was dynamic with modification based on trainee response and progress. A higher-than-anticipated level of comprehension and interest led to inclusion of additional topics like breast reconstruction. Pre-training knowledge increased from 49% to 91% correct (p<0.0001). Clinician and BHW CBE had 88% concordance (kappa 0.43). The mean rating of BHW educational talks was 4.4 (standard deviation 0.7). CONCLUSIONS: Malawian laywomen successfully completed training and demonstrated competency to conduct CBE and deliver breast cancer educational talks. Knowledge increased after training, and concordance was high between BHW and clinician CBE.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gutnik, L; Moses, A; Stanley, C; Tembo, T; Lee, C; Gopal, S

Published Date

  • 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 11 / 3

Start / End Page

  • e0151389 -

PubMed ID

  • 26959980

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4784957

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0151389


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States