By partnering with coffee co-operatives to provide health services, Grounds for Health not only facilitates the well-being of the community, but also helps recruit and retain co-op families.
These local volunteers, or community health promoters, educate their peers about cervical cancer and invite women to attend the cervical cancer screening campaign. Community health promoters are essential to Grounds for Health’s work because they help men and women in the co-op understand the importance of cervical cancer prevention. They also help quell any myths or fears about screening and treatment techniques.
During the training sessions, local doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners work side-by-side with our team of staff and volunteer medical professionals, learning essential techniques and gaining the experience they will need to continue cervical cancer screening programs on their own.
Many of these women live in remote areas and cannot get to the clinic on their own; co-ops provide free transportation. These women often travel several hours over rough roads to reach the screening site.
Grounds for Health facilitates screening and treatment using the Single Visit Approach. We typically see between 75 and 100 women per day over the five-day period of the campaign.
Using skills learned through training, the local health professionals screen for cervical cancer using Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA). If the results are normal, the woman is invited back for another screening in three to five years. If the results are positive, the medical professionals treat the pre-cancerous cells using Cryotherapy the same day. The woman is then scheduled for a follow-up exam in one year.
We commit to at least a three-year partnership. Over that time, we work with the co-op to ensure that they are building necessary systems for a sustainable health care program. We return to the community to provide additional supplies and equipment, and to hold refresher courses. By performing quality control and ensuring knowledge retention, we can graduate the program with confidence that cervical cancer screening and treatment programs will continue well into the future.
Local health providers can use the skills, resources and infrastructure to expand health care in the region, providing other important services such as STD education, diabetes screening and vaccinations.