This sweet 82 year old woman was illiterate but there was no mistaking her gratitude in any language when she kissed all the doctors and nurses after her surgery to remove an early cervical cancer. We often take PAP smears for granted but in many areas of the world there is little or no access to this simple test that can save lives. Worldwide Healing Hands sent a medical team to Haiti to train healthcare providers to screen and treat this preventable cancer in a single visit.
Dr. Joseph Auguste and Dr. Valery Caleb Suprien are Haitian OB/GYNs who are highly skilled surgeons with a great fund of knowledge. It was such a pleasure to work with them and their nurses in this training program in Haiti. They were such quick learners that they will now become trainers for other health professionals.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
Cervical cancer cases number 94 per every 100,000 women in Haiti, giving Haiti the distinction of having the highest incident rate in the world. However, the cancer is preventable and treatable. Haitian women do not receive needed screening and treatment due to few resources and limited access to medical professionals trained in the screening methods. Pap smears are not available to women in these low-resource areas. Providing screening even once for a woman can save her life.
How will this project solve this problem?
WHH partnered with Project Medishare For Haiti to provide screenings and the necessary treatment to women during its one-week mission in January. In addition, WHH’s medical team educated and trained two OB/GYNs, as well as nurses and affiliate professionals. WHH teaches the single visit approach so women, no matter where they live, can be screened and treated. This life-saving approach is vital; when a mother dies, her children are 10 times more likely to die within 2 years.
Potential Long Term Impact
WHH trained Haitian doctors during the mission so that they, in turn, will train additional medical professionals in cervical cancer screenings and treatment. While conducting screenings and treatment during this mission, WHH used the screenings as training/educational tools for local professionals who then will be able to increase the number of trained providers, boost prevention of the deadly disease, and reduce the number of women’s deaths caused by cervical cancer.