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IHI & Femme En Democratie

On May 4-5th, Innovating Health International and Femme En Démocratie (FED) organized a 2-day activity at the "Centre de Bien-Etre pour Femmes et Familles" located in Torbeck, a remote town a little further from Les Cayes. The activity's goals was to provide free cervical cancer screening to the women of the region and to also educate them on breast and cervical cancer.

It was important for FED to bring this treatment to the women of this region and to familiarize them with breast and cervical cancer. Created in 2000, FED is an organisation that works for the emancipation of the Haitian woman in the legal, social, political and economic fields which also involves taking control of their health.

IHI sent our nurses Nanotte and Berline and 2 awareness agents to Torbeck to put together awareness sessions as well as cervical cancer screening via VIA (thermocoagulation). This health center has 2 nurses and 1 doctor on staff and they are open everyday except on Sundays. Although the center is women and family health based, they try their best to treat other patients with what they have or refer them to a hospital with more resources.

Both days started with an awareness session with our nurses and awareness agents. The participants were able to ask questions and learn more about both illnesses. Our nurses and agents were able to demonstrate ways to have a self-breast exam, directly answer questions and refer patients as well.

We were able to screen 123 women in total, despite the torrential rain. The women also had breast exams and were shown how to perform a self-breast exam. They were also given our awareness booklets on breast and cervical cancer (pictured below). They were very pleased with the information included and used them as a resource to understand their bodies even more.

Among the women that participated, about 30 were form an organization called "Fanm Franchise" whose mission is Agriculture, Elevage et Transformation. They are a women's organization that services their entire community and were able to participate in this activity through their connection with FED. Autonomy and women's independence are important issues for all the organizations involved which made this activity all the more important. Women taking charge of their health is not only great for their overall wellbeing but it is also beneficial to the Haitian society and family unit.

This is a great and effective way to get information about breast and cervical cancer out to the provinces and rural towns. It also establishes places of reference around them. Our staff worked extremely hard and we had a great outcome in Torbeck. The women were extremely thankful for both the information learned and for the free cervical cancer screening which is something that is a privilege for the majority of them. We hope to continue this partnership and help save as many lives a possible.

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