Since 2001 WINGS has been providing Guatemalan women in underserved communities with same-day cervical cancer screening and treatment services, and subsidizing the cost of any necessary follow-up treatment.
In an initiative to reach even more women with this vital service, WINGS recently teamed up with Fundacion Pantaleon (The Pantaleon Foundation) who represent Central America’s largest sugar producer. In this successful collaboration, Fundacion Pantaleon covered the costs for WINGS to hold four months worth of cervical cancer screening clinics across 20 communities in the poor coastal region of Escuintla. Importantly, Pantaleon also arranged for leaders in target communities to carry out promotion of WINGS’ services to local women and worked with them to set up suitable locations for clinics to be held. This local support greatly eased the normal logistical challenges that WINGS staff must overcome to access women in a new community, and allowed them to focus wholly on providing high quality, rapid cervical cancer detection and treatment services. As a result, a phenomenal 1163 women were screened, many for the first time. Of these women, 15 screened positive for cervical cancer, 10 of whom were immediately treated by cryotherapy. Eight women were referred to follow-up medical treatment with WINGS’s support either due to the presence of advanced cancerous lesions or complex abnormalities.
Paty, who coordinates the cervical cancer program, is delighted with the successful partnership, ¨it was excellent because we were able to work with communities that really need this service¨. WINGS is likely to continue working with Pantaleon this year and has already set up similar projects with other local industries.
For more information about Fundacion Pantaleon visit their website: http://www.fundacionpantaleon.org/index.php?showPage=440&cache=1
Luciana, a 38 year-old housewife, lives in a remote Guatemalan village with her husband and their 5 children. Scarce jobs and limited access to farm land in their region make it a daily struggle to put food on the table; any more children would prove an impossible strain.
Luciana had not been able to access family planning services until a WINGS nurse came to her community to give a reproductive health and family planning charla, or talk. There, for the first time, Luciana learned about the importance of family planning and the types of methods available. Afterwards, she spoke privately with the WINGS nurse to discuss her options and understood that because of her age any more pregnancies could prove dangerous to her health and that of the child. Luciana took a family planning information sheet home to look through with her husband, and together they decided that a tubal ligation would be their best option. Normally, this simple operation would not only be too expensive for women like Luciana, but also unavailable to her rural community where health services are severely lacking. Fortunately, WINGS was able to guide Luciana to one of their subsidized tubal ligation clinic in a neighboring town a few days later. After a safe and successful operation, Luciana and her husband can now focus on taking care of their existing children with more security for the future.
WINGS is excited to have been invited to participate in GlobalGiving’s last matching challenge of the year. This is the perfect opportunity to make your generous donation go further in support of WINGS’ efforts to provide Guatemalan women with cervical cancer detection and treatment services.
Here’s how it works: for every donation that you make to our cervical cancer project, http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/detect-and-treat-cervical-cancer-in-guatemala/, between TODAY and October 21st, GlobalGiving will match your donation by 30, 40 or 50% - the larger the donation the greater the matching amount! If we raise the most donations we are eligible for a bonus award of $1,000.
Making a donation to WINGS’ Cervical Cancer Detection and Treatment Program will help save lives. Of all new cases of cervical cancer, 80% occur in developing countries where effective screening programs are lacking. Amongst developing countries, the rates are highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. Given the lack of an adequate government plan, few Guatemala women have ever been screened for cervical cancer. As a result, cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Guatemalan women of reproductive age, killing more women than breast, skin, ovarian and stomach cancers combined. This is extremely tragic, especially given the fact that, when caught early, cervical cancer is highly treatable.
WINGS plays an important role in bringing cervical cancer detection and treatment services to rural and underserved communities. Through the use of mobile clinics, WINGS gives women, many of whom have never been screened before, a chance to take charge of their reproductive health. WINGS is one of the only organizations in Guatemala to use the “see and treat” method (also known as VIA/Cryo) which allows for same-day detection, and in the majority of cases, treatment of precancerous cells. This method is especially effective for women in rural and underserved communities, who often have difficulty attending follow-up clinics.
Just one of WINGS’ success stories is Blanca, a cervical cancer survivor and mother of five. Three years ago, when Blanca visited a WINGS clinic, a WINGS nurse discovered that Blanca had advanced stages of cervical cancer and referred her to the National Cancer Institute of Guatemala, where WINGS helped subsidize the cost of her surgery and follow-up treatment. It is because Blanca visited one of WINGS’ clinics that she is alive and healthy today. In speaking with Blanca, she says that her only regret is that her mother, who died at the age of 45 from cervical cancer, did not have access to such services.
You can help ensure that WINGS can continue to provide life-saving services to women like Blanca TODAY by participating in GlobalGivings’ Give More, Get More Challenge. A donation of just $50 will be matched at 30% and cover the cost of detection and treatment services for 4 women. To further your support, ask your friends and family to visit our GlobalGiving project at http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/detect-and-treat-cervical-cancer-in-guatemala/
Thank you for supporting WINGS and for helping to improve the lives of women in Guatemala.
The WINGS Team
P.S. To see where WINGS ranks in the competition, click here.