We’re bringing thermocoagulation to Haiti! Thermocoagulation is a treatment method for precancerous lesions that can be used as an alternative to cryotherapy with the same results. The most important benefit of thermocoagulation is that it functions on rechargeable battery, eliminating the need for carbon dioxide gas. Carbon dioxide gas is prohibitively expensive and often unavailable to our CCC sites in Haiti.
Because cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted virus, HPV, it carries a stigma, making many women hesitant to be screened. Furthermore, preventative healthcare is not a cultural norm in Haiti. Rather, many people only seek healthcare when it is necessary. This creates a challenge because cervical cancer does not present any symptoms until it is invasive and often too late to receive treatment. There is no radiation oncology available in the country of Haiti, making our work of preventing cervical cancer even more crucial.
Today, we trained three nurses and one OB/GYN in thermocoagulation in the Mary III Clinic at St. Jean Limbe Hospital located approximately one hour away from Cap Haitien. We have partnered with St. Jean Limbe since 2014, and Dr. Calixte oversees the “See & Treat” program. His passion and optimism for growing the cervical cancer prevention program continues in spite of the many challenges.
Today we were accompanied by our CCC Community Health Nurse Witney, who will manage our sites in Haiti as well as conduct mobile clinics and outreach. Between the enthusiasm of Nurse Witney and the optimism of Dr. Calixte and the nurses of St. Limbe, we had a successful training and screening day.