May 7, 2018

Patient-Centered, Rights-Based Care

Youth client learns about contraceptive methods
Youth client learns about contraceptive methods

The past few years have been filled with strategic changes for WINGS, all with the aim of streamlining services to further our reach while becoming more cost-effective. Our expertise in both service provision and reproductive rights education is well-known throughout the country. By focusing on patient-centered, rights-based care, WINGS has positioned itself as the provider of choice for many women and men in Guatemala. Stories shared with us during clinics or promotional talks make it clear that people are talking positively about WINGS and referring friends and family to our services.

Internally, we continue to put rights-based practices at the very core of everything we do. Our Board of Directors and staff have ongoing conversations and training sessions about how we can best uphold rights-based care principals and improve our care for all our clients.

WINGS is working toward becoming a leader in rights-based care in Central America. We are guided by best-practice and global experts, including Family Planning 2020 (FP 2020), a global partnership that supports the rights of women and girls to decide, freely, and for themselves, whether, when, and how many children they want to have.

FP 2020 asserts that “rights-based family planning turns the focus to the rights of individuals and couples to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of children with quality sexual/reproductive health information and services to do so without facing discrimination or inequality.”

For WINGS, the practical implementation of rights-based care means that we treat every client in a non-judgmental, non-coercive manner that provides ample education for each individual to make well-informed decisions. You can see this in various aspects of our service provision process.

We provide a Youth-Friendly Space within our clinic to attend anyone age 19 or under. This space is staffed by our Youth Program team who are trained and skilled at communicating with youth who then provide a ‘warm hand-off’ to our clinical staff if the youth decides to get a contraceptive method. We offer all services for free to anyone under age 19.

Our clinical team uses techniques to protect privacy and invite clients to ask honest questions before, during, and after any clinical intervention. Each client 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 we know that not everyone has been informed that vasectomies and tubal ligations are permanent procedures, for example.

As we continue to learn and improve our service delivery, we hope you will partner with us. Your support allows us work towards a future where all Guatemalans thrive and are able to fully exercise their sexual and reproductive rights.

WINGS Board learns more about rights-based care
WINGS Board learns more about rights-based care
Feb 22, 2018

Helping save lives in Guatemala

WINGS has provided 57,817 cervical cancer screenings since 2001. Even though we see an increased level of interest in having a screening, alarming mortality rates show cervical cancer detection and treatment are still a pending issue in Guatemala.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer for women globally, but 70% of cases are concentrated in developing countries. Moreover, 9 out of 10 deaths from cervical cancer occur in the developing world and it is the leading cause of death by cancer among Guatemalan women. According to the Pan American Health Organization, approximately 1,500 Guatemalan women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. However, this number only takes into account the cases detected in health facilities; the odds are that there are several non-reported cases due to a lack of access and awareness to get annual cervical cancer check-ups. In fact, most cervical cancers in Guatemala are detected at stages II or II, that is, when the cancer has spread beyond the cervix.

Approximately 26% of WINGS patients have had their first cervical cancer screening with us. WINGS offers cervical cancer screenings in all our clinics, either within our stationary clinic or our mobile unit clinics. We use visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for immediate detection of cervical cell abnormalities and same-day treatment using cryotherapy for pre-cancerous cells that may lead to cervical cancer.

During the individual interview process, WINGS asks all patients about their last cervical screening date, if they ever have had one. When patients say they had their last screening less than a year ago, WINGS still needs to make sure they received their results, as we have found out many women never return to the rural health center for a diagnosis. WINGS tries to adapt its services to the rural Guatemalan context by doing rapid screenings that show results within 10 minutes.

In 2018 alone, we aim to provide 3,700 VIA screenings. This work would simply not be possible without your help. You are truly helping us to save lives. ¡Gracias!

Feb 13, 2018

Why We Love LARCs First

In 2015, we began implementing the LARCs First methodology, meaning that we explain all available birth control methods in terms of efficacy: beginning with the most effective (IUD and subdermal implant) and ending with the least effective method (condom). There are numerous misconceptions about LARCs in Guatemala. It is believed that they are only meant to be used by married women or women who have already had children, some think that they can make women infertile, or that they are permanent methods. To dispel these myths, our educational talks strongly emphasize that contraceptive methods can be used by women regardless of whether they have had children or not, and that they can be removed after 5 years (in case of the implant) or 10 (IUD), or earlier if the person decides to.

Since implementing LARCs First, we have seen the number of contraceptive methods patients shift away from short-acting methods like pills and injections to long-acting methods. What this means for us is that while our projected number of total patients is generally right on the mark, the balance is flowing toward LARCs. What that means for our patients is that they are much more effective in avoiding unintended pregnancy for longer amounts of time!

As you can see from the chart of data, our patients last year showed an overwhelming preference for subdermal hormonal implants over IUDs. We believe this is because myths about the copper T or IUD are so very pervasive. We have women ask us all the time if they will get pregnant and have a baby with the T embedded in the baby’s forehead or if the T becomes embedded in the uterine tissue forever. Using a rights-based approach, we offer education to dispel these myths in all of our programs, whether within our Youth Peer Education Program, our community outreach, or in one-on-one patient counseling. Despite these misconceptions about the IUD, we are delighted that the subdermal hormonal implant is so popular.

At WINGS, we know that the education we provide is just as important as the actual physical contraceptive methods we provide. We could not provide wither of these dimensions of our services without the generosity of donors like you. Thank you so much for standing with WINGS as we provide life-changing reproductive health services to Guatemalan youth, women, and men. We <3 LARCS and YOU!

We love LARCs
We love LARCs
Examples of Contraceptive Methods
Examples of Contraceptive Methods
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