Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Women's Health Initiative Expands


Medicine For Peace(MFP) has opened a second screening clinic for detection and treatment cervical cancer and other sexually-transmitted diseases in the northern Artibinite department. The "screen and treat" clinic is located in Pendu.

The MFP Women's Health Initiative is based at the Alma Mater Hospital in Gros Morne. Since May 2010, Haitian and American health professionals ( doctors, nurses and educators) have cared for 1,300 women including breast and abdominal examination, colposcopy, and STI screening. Five percent of patients were found to have precancerous lesions of the cervix, and were treated with cryosurgery. A number of patients with invasive cervical cancer underwent curative surgery. More than 500 women were treated for sexually-transmitted diseases. An important aspect of the program is education of Haitian women in health promoting behavior.

"Cervical cancer incidence rates are extremely high in Haiti," said Dr. Michael Viola, Director of MFP. "The success of the early detection program has been due, in large part, to our education efforts, and the promotion of mass screening by women's organizations in the community."

The town of Gros Morne has a population of 22,00 residents, with an estimated 100,000 people living in the surrounding mountainous villages. In the next phase of the program, mobile cervical cancer detection units will examine women in the rural mountainous villages inaccessible to health care in Gros Morne.


MFP is a Washington, DC based medical relief organization dedicated to providing medical care to women and children who are victims of war and extreme poverty. MFP has had medical programs in El Salvador, Iraq and Bosnia, and operates the Medicine For Peace Health Center for Torture Victims in Hyattsville, MD.

For more information on the Haitian Women's Health Initiative contact: Michael V. Viola, M.D. at 202 441 4545 in Washington, 509 31 64 81 57 in Haiti, or at medforpeace@aol.com.