On March 7, 2013 Exportadora Atlantic, ECOM’s Nicaragua branch, teamed up with Grounds for Health to carry out a cervical cancer prevention campaign in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The campaign, which offered same-day screening and treatment for early signs of cancer, benefited women associated with Exportadora’s dry processing mill as well as other women in the community of Sébaco and Matagalpa. 69 women attended the campaign and received screening services, 8 of whom tested positive and were treated with cryotherapy on the same day (100% treatment rate).
Funding for this activity was provided by ECOM Foundation as part of a two-year grant awarded to Grounds for Health in 2012 to support collaborative projects with coffee cooperatives to address the unacceptably high rate of cervical cancer in these regions. Grounds for Health’s model for addressing cervical cancer builds long-term capacity in the health system and the community and demonstrates an effective model for strengthening primary care services in rural areas.
Description of Activity
Grounds for Health’s collaboration with CECOCAFEN co-op and the local Ministry of Health in Matagalpa from 2008 to 2011 contributed to a strong and lasting network of community health promoters and providers dedicated to improving cervical cancer screening and treatment services in the region. Local partners assumed full responsibility for sustaining screening and treatment services in 2011, and have remained active and responsive to the needs of coffee communities in the region.
In March 2013, Grounds for Health and Exportadora Atlantic engaged Ministry of Health partners in Matagalpa to benefit women associated with Exportadora Atlantic’s dry processing mill in the nearby community of Sébaco. Grounds for Health arranged permission for the use of four consult rooms at the hospital Lacayo Farfan in Matagalpa and secured support from four providers previously trained by Grounds for Health to conduct a screen-and-treat campaign for women associated with Exportadora’s dry processing mill in Sébaco. The date for the event was set for March 7, 2013, just as the harvest was ending and in recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8th.
In preparation for the campaign, Dr. Barinia Osejo visited Exportadora Atlantic’s mill in Sébaco and gave an educational talk on cervical cancer prevention to men and women associated with the mill. The talk provided an opportunity for Exportadora Atlantic’s community to learn more about Grounds for Health, the burden of cervical cancer in Nicaragua, and how to prevent it. Women aged 30-50 who had not had a prior screening test, or who had not been tested in three years or more, were invited to the campaign.
Personnel from across Exportadora Atlantic pitched in to help get ready for the event and provided essential support throughout the campaign day. ECOM vehicles transported supplies to the campaign site where additional staff from the mill were standing by to set up tables and chairs, signs, and stations for registration, high level disinfection, and counseling. During the campaign, personnel from Exportadora Atlantic worked to register women and provide refreshments for them and the volunteers.
Results of the Screen-and-Treat Campaign
A summary of campaign results is presented below.
*Of the 69 women screened, 13 women were not eligible for screening with VIA due to their age and received a Pap test instead. Their Pap tests are being processed by the local lab and will be returned to the women within one month.