Go Doc Go and Hands Up For Haiti (HUFH) partnered for a two-day training in cervical cancer (CC) screening and treatment in Cap Haitien, Haiti. Over the two days they trained 24 providers: 4 Midwives, 6 Nurses, 9 Residents (Physicians in training), and 5 Physicians. The training was held at the Mama Baby Haiti birthing center in Cap Haitien as the public hospital, Justinian University Hopital, was closed due to strikes.
Haitian OB/GYN doctor Nelly Osias who works on staff at Justinian and runs the HUFH CC clinic in Limbe, just south of Cap Haitien, helped to organize the training. A team of doctors from Go Doc Go and HUFH led the training. Dr. Maggie Carpenter, Executive Director of Go Doc Go, Dr. Roger Waltzman, Board Member of Go Doc Go, Dr. Judy Banks, Faculty at Morristown Medical Centers Ob/Gyn residency program and residents, Dr. Oluwafisayo Tunde and Dr. Adenieki Mornan.
Dr. Mary Ann LoFrumento, President of HUFH helped coordinate the event.The HUFH CC screening program had begun this past July in Limbe. Dr. Osias has screened over 400 women and treated 26 with cryotherapy in the first 6 months since the program began.
Over the two-day period the team screened 109 patients. One of the first women the doctors saw had been diagnosed with cervical cancer a year previously and came to see if there was anything they could do as she had been waiting a year for treatment.
Unfortunately, her cancer at this point was very advanced and the only option was to direct her to a private hospital to access pain medications as her life expectancy was now under 6 months and she would not benefit from any treatments. While her case was devastating to see, it was a strong reminder to all involved of the importance of the work. Screening can detect cervical disease in the precancerous stages where it can be easily treated.
All attendees were trained in performing gentle pelvic exams, visualizing the cervix with acetic acid and treating abnormalities with either cryotherapy, a freezing method, or LEEP, an electrosurgical technique. In all, the teams donated a LEEP machine, cryotherapy gun, colposcope and additional equipment valued at over $20,000. The equipment will be used at Dr. Osias’ clinic until the hospital reopens after the strike.
Go Doc Go and Hands Up For Haiti are discussing further expansion of cervical cancer screening programs in Haiti with other NGOs doing similar work, Haiti sans Cervical Cancer and Cure Cervical Cancer. Efforts to coordinate the work will ensure that there is less duplication of efforts and that services can be accessed by more women.