We arrived in Heathrow Airport, London to turn on our cell phones and discover what is perhaps the single most gratifying moment of our professional lives. Tsehay, One of the nurses trained by Cure Cervical Cancer and left in charge of continuing the clinic sent out an update on their statistics from Friday afternoon, after we had left. To summarize, they saw 63 patients, identified eight VIA positive patients, performed 7 cryotherapy procedures, and identified 3 women with highly suspicious lesions for invasive cervical cancer which they appropriately referred for cervical biopsy. In short, in one afternoon they saved between 6 to 9 women’s lives.
During the last week’s activities, there has been an evolution in our understanding of the role that CCC has to play in the arena of cervical cancer prevention globally. We began the trip with the hope that we could see and treat as many women as possible during a weeks time and hopefully leave some supplies with which the local practitioners could continue the work. By the end of the week we realize that the single most important thing our organization can do is help launch sustainable, large volume, ongoing cervical cancer prevention programs in developing countries worldwide.
Life is a learning process. This week has been absolutely transformative for our consciousness as professionals, and as human beings. We had originally envisioned our trip as providing services in rural and small community clinic locations. We have come to understand that the services will never be provided unless the future for healthcare in the country, meaning the doctors, nurses and health extension workers in training become exposed to a high-volume highly functional training center where they can be individually inspired by the number of women’s lives saved by this simple technique.
We could not be more focused and inspired to continue this work.
Final Report: Preliminary data indicates that we performed slightly over 100 cryotherapy procedures for pre-malignant lesions, hence curing 90% of these women, and diagnosed over 10 cervical cancers, five of which can be cured with surgery at Ayder Hospital.