In late April, new Program Manager Ariel Irene Delaney traveled to Nicaragua to meet the local team and become acquainted with our current, longest-standing Grounds for Health program. Upon arriving, she was immediately whisked into a meeting with Prodecoop, one of our cooperative partners. Talk about hitting the ground running!
Soon after Ariel’s arrival, Grounds for Health and the cooperative partners hosted a two-day community health promoter training. They trained twenty women from the communities around San Juan del Rio Coco in cervical cancer education and prevention, teaching them ways to engage and mobilize the community as health promoters. It was a busy and exciting two days, made extremely rich by the personal stories shared by the promoters.
One woman spoke of her own experience with breast cancer. She received emotional and financial support from her community when battling her illness, and she is motivated to be a promoter for Grounds for Health as a way to give back and ensure that all women receive the same care and support that she did. The entire room was moved, and the promoters left the training with a surge of energy and momentum.
After two weeks in the field, Ariel and in-country coordinator Barinia Osejo were joined by Program Manager Kyle Engelman, Senior Program Officer Kayla Moore, and Clinical Consultant Erica Liebermann. The team’s first task was to field-test Grounds for Health’s newest curriculum: a two-day Training of Trainers in VIA and Cryotherapy. Erica and Barinia led a dynamic and valuable training to five standout healthcare providers from Madriz. The providers left the training pleased with the theory and practice they learned and eager to put their new training skills and techniques to good use.
The following week, these new trainers delivered a 2-day Clinical Training to 11 providers from Madriz Department. Meanwhile, the Grounds for Health team was joined by a clinical volunteer, Erin Quinn, and together the team supervised the training, supported the trainers, and prepared the logistics for the upcoming campaign.
The Madriz activities ended with a three-day screen-and-treat campaign, where the new providers, trainers, and Grounds for Health staff and volunteer screened 319 women! Of the 35 VIA-positive women who were eligible for cryotherapy, all were treated that same day, and the few women who were ineligible for treatment due to pelvic infection were given antibiotics and scheduled for follow-up appointments.
It was an extremely successful campaign and a great way to round out the program in Madriz. Grounds for Health feels confident in the capacity and motivation of the providers and the partners, who show a strong commitment to continuing cervical cancer prevention in their region. As everyone said goodbye during the closing ceremony at the end of the week, more than a few tears of happiness and inspiration were shed.