Cervical Cancer Prevention Training Program to Launch in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Basic Health International, in collaboration Direct Relief International and Fondation St. Luc, a division of St. Damien Hospital, launches cervical cancer prevention initiative in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

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Dr. Rachel Masch trains a Haitian physician in visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) screening, a low-cost method used to detect cervical pre-cancers.

Various sources still name cervical cancer as the leading cause of female deaths in Haiti and that the mortality rate is more than 30 times higher than in the United States

New York, NY (PRWEB) January 31, 2013

Basic Health International (BHI) is excited to announce that Direct Relief International will support a cervical cancer prevention training program in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for health care educators and providers at St. Damien’s Hospital. Dr. Rachel Masch, BHI board member and long-time volunteer will lead the initiative.

Direct Relief will work with BHI to increase the capacity of medical professionals at St. Luc to prevent the disease using low-cost screening and treatment techniques. The Direct Relief sponsored program will support delegations of skilled BHI physicians who will train local doctors at St. Luc to identify pre-cancerous cells, using Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA), and to treat pre-cancerous cells with a freezing technique called cryotherapy.

This program will train 30-40 local physicians, through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience, to screen and treat women for cervical cancer. BHI will use its proven method developed in El Salvador to train community health workers to work directly with the community to increase awareness of cervical cancer and to inform women that free screenings and treatment will be available.

It is anticipated that 300-500 women will receive services during each of the training delegations. Once the training sessions are completed, the equipment used by the medical delegations will be donated to the local physicians, enabling them to incorporate VIA screening into their overall standard of care.

This project will launch in January, in recognition of cervical cancer awareness month, with scheduled training workshops to begin in March of 2013. BHI and St. Damien’s Hospital collaboration will occur over a 3-year period.

Basic Health International believes that no woman should die from cervical cancer. Founded in 2005, BHI is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cervical cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean through innovative, low-cost, low technology screening and treatment methods. BHI also provides medical training, policy guidance, and research on cervical cancer issues in the developing world. BHI’s efforts have now been focused on the Caribbean country Haiti.

Haiti suffers from one of the highest cervical cancer rates in the world. In 2000, the International Agency on Research for Cancer estimated that Haiti has the highest incidence of cervical cancer in the Western Hemisphere at 93.9 per 100,000 women. Cervical cancer as the leading cause of female deaths in Haiti and that the mortality rate is more than 30 times higher than in the United States (Partners in Health, 2010).


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