The April 2015 Ethiopia program in Addis Ababa has finally begun! Team members included Patricia Gordon MD (Founding Director and Board Chair), Judy Carmel (Board Member), Lirona Katzir MD, Mamta Singhvi MD, Elsa Miramontes RN, DeeDee Dorskind (volunteer), Donna Stellini (photojournalist), Stephen Morris (lead coordinator), Yvonne Nong (coordinator), and Bradley Neutel (volunteer).
For the week of April 12th -18th, our team of 10 from Los Angeles is located at Saint Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC) where our main clinic will be established. Three other satellite clinics will be established at Kolfe
Health Center, Felege Meles Health Center, and Alert Hospital- all of which are located in the Addis Ababa region.
Day 1 was as hectic as it was successful. From 9-11 am, Dr. Gordon gave the didactic “See and Treat” lecture to a group of 24 healthcare providers (from the 4 clinics we are establishing) and was assisted by a few members of the CCC team. As this was going on, the rest of the team worked relentlessly to prepare the screening/treatment room with 5 patient beds, CO2 tanks, cryotherapy guns, speculum and cryotherapy tip disinfection stations, and a registration station.
Following lecture and set up, the CCC team tried out a new idea to assist in teaching our trainees: We broke up the 24 trainees into 3 groups of 8 people and rotated each group through a station which focused on hands-on teaching. Elsa led station 1 and taught each group how to disinfect the speculum and cryotherapy tips; Stephen led station 2 and taught the groups how to attach and detach the cryotherapy gun; and Lirona led station 3 and demonstrated proper cryotherapy technique. The team felt this sort of hands-on, small group based learning was beneficial in addressing questions not covered in lecture, and we look forward to incorporating this approach on future missions.
After a beautiful Ethiopian lunch which featured injera bread and Ethiopian spiced meats, vegetables, and cheeses, we began to screen and treat patients. We saw 51 patients and found 13 positive who were treated with cryotherapy- an astounding 25.4% positivity rate. This goes to show how high the need is for cervical cancer screening here in Ethiopia, as the usual positivity rate reported by the World Health Organization is around 12%. While 51 women is a smaller number of women we’d typically like to see in an afternoon, this was only the first day and we moved slowly to make sure our trainees were learning from each and every patient. As always, our overall goal is to make sure that all of our 24 heathcare partners are fully proficient in the procedure by the end of the week so they can continue to operate sustainable clinics after we have left the region. We expect to see 150-200 women tomorrow and look to continue making great progress towards our goal!