Dec 31, 2018

Why speaking Mayan languages matters

Senayda on her way to a clinic in Panajachel.
Senayda on her way to a clinic in Panajachel.

Last month, Senayda and Josefina, our nurses in Sololá and Totonicapán, travelled to San Francisco (Department of Totonicapán) to provide long-term contraception. As it was a mainly indigenous community, Josefina offered the initial educational talk in Mayan K’ich’e.

Isabel, a 14-year-old patient, entered the clinic room with a 6-month baby. Isabel told Senayda she blamed her partner for the unwanted pregnancy, as he told her she could not get pregnant in her first sexual intercourse. After having the baby, her older sister, who lives in the US, talked to her about contraception. Isabel complained about no one explaining her anything about reproductive health before.

Even though her partner agreed on using contraception, her mother-in-law opposed and said it was against their beliefs. After hearing the story, Senayda advised her to get an IUD, as she feared Isabel could suffer physical violence if her partner’s family learned she was using contraception. However, Isabel said that, after talking to her sister, she understood it was her right to use a method and that she preferred the subdermal hormonal implant.

Isabel told Senayda how grateful she was to WINGS for providing counselling in K’ich’e, as she had understanding difficulties in Spanish. “We see stories like Isabel’s every day in rural communities”, Senayda says. “It is discouraging to see none of the education and health centers offer reproductive health education in Mayan languages.”

WINGS recognizes language can be a barrier for people to access information about reproductive health. Your support allows us have an excellent team of local nurses and promoters who help us reach indigenous communities and ensure they exercise their right to reproductive health education.

Oct 18, 2018

The importance of well-informed decisions

Luis gives a talk at La Vega (Mazatenango)
Luis gives a talk at La Vega (Mazatenango)

A few weeks ago, field educator Luis offered an educational talk about contraceptive methods in a small community in Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa (department of Escuintla). After the talk, two women approached him. One of them was Karen, a 27-year-old woman who heard WINGS was going to be in her community, and she came just to show her gratitude to us. Months ago, she attended a WINGS clinic where she got a subdermal hormonal implant, and not only she was now able to space her pregnancies – the implant gave her regular menstruation.

The other woman’s name was Yulissa, a 22-year-old with two children who got her subdermal hormonal implant at the health center of her community. She was worried because she suffered constant bleeding and, when she came back to the health center, they did not assist her. She arrived to the talk to get further information about the implant and she told Luis no one explained her most of the things he mentioned. After making sure it was a normal side effect, Luis asked Yulissa for her phone number in order to receive a follow-up call from WINGS.

We are pleased to see that our patients are satisfied with our work and their choice. For WINGS, the practical implementation of rights-based care means that we treat every patient in a non-judgmental, non-coercive manner that provides ample education for each individual to make well-informed decisions.  

Each patient receives comprehensive information about available contraceptive methods before they choose which one is right for them and can opt out at any moment if they change their minds. This is important in a context where not everyone has been informed of their rights in past medical treatments or other facets of their lives.

Oct 18, 2018

We continue reaching the unreachable

Field Supervisor Dominga teaching in Chahal
Field Supervisor Dominga teaching in Chahal

At the end of September, WINGS organized a cervical cancer screening clinic in Chahal (department of Alta Verapaz), a Mayan Q’eqchi’ community where 86.71% of the population does not have access to electricity.*

The health post was very grateful for WINGS’ offer to provide free screenings in Chahal, as several barriers exist in the community for women to access reproductive health services. In fact, only the 9.68% of the economically active population are women,* which means most of them do not have the economic power to access health services. Moreover, the community is difficult to reach, as there is only a several-mile dirt road from the nearest village. Even though WINGS’ mobile units are prepared to handle these roads, local transportation is almost nonexistent and it is very unlikely for a woman to be able to travel on her own.

Thanks to WINGS’ visit, 7 women received a cervical cancer screening. This number may sound small, but it becomes bigger after learning that most of the women heard about cervical cancer for the first time during their screening with us. We are very proud of our medical team’s ability to provide comprehensive information about reproductive health in a community where illiteracy affects the 42% of the population.*

WINGS provides rights-based, patient-centered services, which means we treat every patient in a non-judgmental, non-coercive manner that provides ample education for each individual to make well-informed decisions. Each person receives comprehensive information about available contraceptive methods before they choose which one is right for them and can opt out at any moment if they change their minds. This is important in a context where not everyone has been informed of their rights in past medical treatments or they have not receive any treatments at all.

As part of our commitment to rights-based care, WINGS trains all our employees on not only technical aspects of care provision but on the communication skills needed to provide the highest level of care while respecting the patients’ rights. We hold quarterly trainings with our field staff to ensure that all levels of intervention are based wholly on respecting a patient’s rights to choose freely and responsibly how to experience their reproductive health.

 

* Source: Guatemalan Secretariat for Planning and Programming of the Presidency (SEGEPLAN), 2009.

 
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