Skip to main content

February 17 2022

Low health literacy is a leading cause of treatment abandonment among patients receiving cancer care at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Malawi.

We developed cancer educational videos featuring Malawian providers and played them in the KCH oncology clinic. The videos addressed cancer-related topics, including disease biology, common myths, diagnostic procedures, treatment, side effects, and survivorship. After 6 months of implementation, we compared results from 50 pre- and postintervention surveys to assess change in cancer knowledge and care experience.


Both pre- and postintervention cancer knowledge were good: a median of nine questions were answered correctly of 11 in both assessments. Despite the intervention, most continued to incorrectly identify cancer as an infection (pre: n = 26, 52%; post: n = 25, 50%; P = 1.0), although improvements were observed in patients’ knowledge of correct actions for fever at home (pre: n = 38, 76%; post: n = 43, 86%; P = .31). Care experiences were overall good. Postintervention results indicate that more patients felt always listened to by their providers (pre: n = 18, 36%; post: n = 29, 58%; P < .01). However, we also noted a higher rate of patient dissatisfaction of care as more patients felt that they could not understand chemotherapy counseling (pre: n = 11, 22%; post: n = 22, 44%; P < .01). Assessments of video satisfaction indicate that patients found the videos very helpful in terms of understanding their disease (n = 47, 96%) and side effects (n = 48, 98%) and felt empowered to speak up with their providers (n = 46, 96%).

Standardized education materials for patients that can be feasibly implemented throughout sub-Saharan Africa are urgently needed. Cancer educational videos are a low-cost way to educate and empower patients with cancer in resource-constrained settings although in-person discussions remain a crucial part of care. Full paper