Reproductive health in Western Kenya

Kisumu Center for Global Reproductive Health

Kisumu Center for Global Reproductive Health

Application Deadline:

Project Status:

  • Filled



  • Health policy and systems,
  • Reproductive health,
  • Women's health,
  • Cancer


  • Kenya


  • Kisumu

Start Date:

End Date:

Project Type:

  • Student Research Training Program


  • Yes

Placements Available:

  • 04

Reproductive health in Western Kenya

Important COVID-19 Update: 
Duke University currently has a travel policy in place that currently prohibits non-essential travel for students ( due to COVID-19. Because of the uncertainty regarding the ability for students to be able to travel during summer 2021, the SRT projects for summer 2021 are designed for remote engagement. There are many logistical and ethical considerations for travel during a pandemic, so it may be that while it is possible to travel to the SRT site location the team may decide not to travel and continue the project as a remote engagement. If travel is advisable and beneficial, teams will be informed and plan for summer travel during the spring semester. Students are strongly encouraged to apply anticipating remote engagement with their project site. 

Project Opportunities: 

Summary: Cervical cancer, a highly preventable and treatable disease, is disproportionately represented in low and middle income countries. This is largely due to inadequate access of screening and treatment services, lack of a trained health workforce, and implementation gaps in current prevention and treatment guidelines. In Kenya, these realities are all too apparent. Cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer among Kenyan women and national screening rates are currently less than 10%. Dr. Megan Huchko has partnered with the Kenya Medical Research Institute and the Kenyan Ministry of Health for the past five years to develop community-based strategies to improve access to cervical cancer screening and linkage to treatment.
In conjunction with Dr. Huchko’s study team, students will have the opportunity to join two team-based projects:

1. Understanding the relative impact of Covid-related stigma among women seeking reproductive health services in Kenya

1)    Dr. Huchko’s team is currently finalizing an instrument to measure levels of HPV-related stigma, with a plan to determine their impact on HPV-based screening uptake. The COVID pandemic has changed health care delivery and access to a degree that it likely plays a larger role in decision making about uptake of health care services. Team members will adapt existing stigma surveys to measure COVID-related fears and stigma, and then administer the survey to key stakeholders, including health care providers and women who would screening for cancer. Team members will be expected to work collaboratively within a larger team and play an integral role in the implementation and analysis plan for the survey. 

2. Develop and pilot an educational intervention around HPV-screening and vaccination for women living in western Kenya

2)    Our team is working in collaboration with partners in Uganda and the Kenya Ministry of Health to develop more effective community-based strategies to deliver HPV testing to women, and increase vaccination rates among girls.  While originally funded to augment the MoH’s existing programs, the COVID pandemic has led to profound disruptions in health services, especially the nascent HPV vaccination programs. We are hoping to develop effective messaging and outreach strategies, and if on-the-ground travel is possible, would work to deploy the first campaign in June or July 2020.  

Selection Criteria:  

  • Interest in global reproductive health  

  • Hardworking, flexible, and comfortable working with a team 

  • Prior experience with survey development or mhealth applications desired  

Project Application Process
Students must fill out and submit a project application, CV and recent transcript to by October 15, 2020. Students may apply to no more than two project opportunities and a separate application must be completed for each SRT project site. The scheduled interviews for this project location will take place during the week of October 29 and November 2. Any questions regarding the application, interview dates or general project information should be directed to Lysa MacKeen or Erin Degerman.