The medical team spent Wednesday traveling to a community outside of La Dalia with the Lily Project, a new partner for Global Partners. The Lily Project aims to make cervical cancer screening and prevention more accessible to women who live in rural communities. Today (Wednesday) we saw approximately 90 women for exams and were able to identify a handful of women who need further testing. The highlights of the day included watching the Lily Project team set up a clinic in a one room school house from bare bones! By the end of the set up we had two completely private exam areas to work with. The patients were extremely appreciative for our care and waited for hours to be seen.
Some of the things that set the Lily Project apart from the Nicaraguan health department are the education provided to the women, disposable speculums (rather than metal ones being rinsed off between women), and only female examiners. So many of the women that we saw were not aware of why these exams are done, what cervical cancer is, or even the basic anatomy of the female reproductive system (basics like urinary system is separate from the reproductive system)! In addition, many of the women had had Pap smears previously, but had never got their results. The Lily Project guarantees results to the women in two weeks.
Overall, the day was long, trying, and hard work, but beyond rewarding. The medical team is looking forward to maintaining a partnership with the Lily Project, starting with serving another community tomorrow!
Phoebe Breed & Lisa Horstman