Early last month Grounds for Health Executive Director August Burns and in-country doctor Barinia Osejo attended the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Workshop on VIA and cryotherapy. Grounds for Health joined representatives from 11 countries and the World Health Organization, Basic Health International, United Nations Population Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation, PATH and Jhpiego. These organizations convened over two days to discuss experiences preventing cervical cancer in their respective countries.
This groundbreaking meeting represented the first time a group of health experts from across Latin America came together to focus on the Single Visit Approach, which is a key component of Grounds for Health’s work. The group shared their successes, failures, and lessons learned in implementing this new approach.
August and Dr. Osejo were sure to bring the voice of the “woman at the end of the road” to the meeting, presenting our community-based approach to outreach and follow-up. By speaking about Grounds for Health’s experience in poor, rural settings, August and Dr. Osejo were able to shift the conversation beyond just what to do, but to how to make it work—to assure that programs reach all women at risk.
August walked away feeling that Grounds for Health is truly part of a larger community committed to ending unnecessary deaths from cervical cancer. Thanks to strong alliances with the Nicaragua Ministry of Health, and invitations from other Ministries of Health, we have a great opportunity to expand our model across the region.
In the end, this meeting showed the true collaborative effort that is emerging to address issues of cervical cancer. These partnerships are absolutely necessary if we are to have a meaningful impact in saving lives from the city to the farm.