Gondar, Ethiopia, October 2015
As you may recall, one year ago Go Doc Go made its first trip to Ethiopia. On that trip our mission was to establish a cervical cancer screening program at the University Hospital in Gondar and to deliver medical equipment used to treat pre-cancerous cervical lesions. On our recent return trip, we brought more supplies and checked on the progress made since our first trip. We were overwhelmed to see that the patient register reflected that almost 1,000 women have been screened!
Many of those women received additional treatment with the LEEP and Cryotherapy machinery that we brought; of those nearly 1,000 women screened, over 200 required cryotherapy – a freezing of the early precancerous lesions. Over 200 women had more advanced disease; those women were treated with LEEP – a surgery which removes the abnormal area. Of those women treated with LEEP, 30-40 were found to have early cancer and were able to have hysterectomies, which is essentially curative for early cancer. This is amazing.
We were encouraged even more to see that the screenings have become a normal and accepted practice in the hospital. All of the medical students, midwives, and residents who rotate through the gynecology department are taught the screening and treatment methods. This training ensures that no matter where they go following their schooling, they will be able to educate people about the importance of cervical cancer screening and to appropriately treat the women in their care. It is our hope that this evolution will eventually make cervical cancer screenings commonplace in all of Ethiopia, just as it is in the United States. Thanks to your help and investment, we have taken one step towards making cervical cancer as rare in Ethiopia as it is here.
Besides delivering the much needed supplies to the hospital and checking in on the screening program, we were fortunate to meet with representatives from the Ministry of Health to discuss partnering with them in other areas of Ethiopia. To date, only 36 of 180 hospitals in the entire country have trained providers and equipment for cervical cancer screening and treatment. Together we can do much more, and GoDocGo will be working with them to supply equipment and train providers at additional sites as early as summer of 2016.