A day in her shoes: #WCW Sister Christy

As part of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek’s on-going #WednesdayCelebrateWomen Campaign, UNIC Windhoek got to know Sister Christy, a registered nurse at the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) and #WCW for the month of March, by shadowing her for a day.

Cancer awareness in Namibia is rapidly increasing because of CAN’s effective awareness campaigns which are implemented through the hard work and dedication of its staff. For this reason, a day in Sister Christy shoes starts off early. She says, “I start off by driving the cancer patients to the hospital for treatment.”

UNIC Windhoek was fortunate enough to find Sister Christy in office because of her hectic travel schedule. She, along with her team, travel to remote locations in Namibia.

Sister Christy explains, “We educate both males and females about cancer and try to break down the cultural beliefs in our society that the male gender cannot contract cancer.”

She continues, “My schedule is not fixed; I tackle different obstacles daily and my routine changes according to what project is coming up. I look forward to assisting patients in any way I can.”

Most cancers, if detected early, have a greater chance of being cured. In an effort to raise awareness about cancer, CAN offers Pap smear tests on Thursdays at a cost of N$50.

Sister Christy highlights that the Pap smear test is a first step in cancer prevention, and that education and further testing is necessary. She says, “I not only run tests, but I feel that it is important to educate the ladies about cancer and the different types of cancer.”

She adds, “It is crucial to let the patients know that a Pap smear is not a definite test to diagnose cancer, rather it shows changes which if tested further can give accurate diagnosis.”

Because a Pap smear is supposed to be a first step, Sister Christy shares that, “Sometimes when patients come for the Pap smear they don’t go for additional tests as we request of them. This then leads to most people getting cancer, despite the fact that it was detected at an early stage.”

The passion sister Christy has for her job and patients is beyond admirable. She goes the extra mile to book appointments for her patients who need additional testing and even follows up to find out how the testing went.

The CAN is a non-profit organization which aims at educating the general public regarding the prevention and dangers of cancer while also aiming to give welfare to all cancer sufferers. “All the patients coming in for Pap smears help us as an association. Their N$50 payment assist us to carry out tests in remote locations,” says Sister Christy.

After spending a day in Sister Christy’s shoes, UNIC Windhoek could see that Sister Christy and her team make a difference in the lives of Namibians on a daily basis, something that is extremely remarkable.

“I hope to make a prevalent difference where I can. With cancer, it’s not always a good outcome. Sometimes it’s heart-breaking in cases of children getting sick and people dying. At first it was very hard, but I constantly remind myself that I am here to make a difference,” says Sister Christy.