On International Women’s Day 2009, MFP kicked off its Women’s Health Initiative in Gros Morne, Haiti, the centerpiece of which is cervical cancer prevention and treatment. With a dedicated group of Haitian and U.S. health workers, our screening program at the 50 bed Alma Mater Hospital in Gros Morne, and in the rural dispensaries, has been a model for cancer prevention for all of Haiti. In December 2013, Analia Simeon came to our mobile clinic in the small town of Jolivert, an hour north of Gros Morne, for a medical and gynecological examination. Ms. Simeon was the 3,000th women we have screened for cervical cancer, and we were pleased to inform her that she had a completely normal examination.
Sine we initiated the program in 2009, it has been expanded to detect and treat other diseases of women, such as breast cancer, sexually transmitted infections, and other gynecological disorders. Detailed secure records are kept on all patients, and the summary below indicates how successful the program has been:
Achievements of MFP’s Haitian Women’s Health Initiative
3,000 women screened for cervical cancer.
343 AIDS patients examined.
51 new cases of AIDS detected.
1,050 urinary and vaginal tract infections treated.
276 new cases of hypertension detected.
261 cases of pre-cancer of cervix detected and treated with cryosurgery.
19 cases of invasive cancer detected
Cancer of the cervix is both preventable and curable. However, the disease must be detected and treated in the pre-cancerous stage (dysplasia), or in its early invasive stage. Unfortunately, the majority of the invasive cancers we detected were in a late incurable stage. Only four cancer patients had a successful curative operation. This highlights the importance of our screening program for early cancer in which we detected and successfully treated 261 cases pf pre-cancer of the cervix with cryosurgery.