Basic Health International, in partnership with Direct Relief and collaboration with the St. Luke Foundation, has implemented a Cervical Cancer screening project at Manitane Clinic for women in Tabarre. The goal is to increase the capacity of medical professionals at St. Luke to prevent the disease using low-cost screening and treatment techniques. Over the course of 3 week-long delegations, BHI physicians have trained 18 local physicians, nurses, and midwives to identify pre-cancerous cells, using Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA), and to treat pre-cancerous cells with a freezing technique called cryotherapy.
Through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience, BHI workshops have focused on instructing local health providers on identifying positive cases of HPV infection. The goal is to train community health workers to work directly with the community to increase awareness of cervical cancer and to inform women that screenings and treatment are available.
Presently, over 1600 women have been screened and the equipment used by the medical delegations has been donated to the Manitane Clinic, enabling the integration of VIA screening into their overall standard of care. We identified one woman with cervical cancer and Dr. Jill Whyte, a gynecologic oncologist, came from New York with Dr. Rachel Masch (the director of the program), and Dr. Michele Germain. The patient had a successful radical hysterectomy and is doing well post-operatively. Ongoing care will be provided by the staff at the NPH St. Damien Pediatric Hospital and Manitane Clinic.
Contributed by Rachel Masch