Ixil Region of Guatemala
My name is Blanca and I’d like to tell you about a moving experience I had when I was a nurse with one of WINGS’ Mobile Units.
WINGS is always looking for ways to "reach the unreachable" - it's part of our mission and all of our service provision activities are set up to be delivered to rural areas of Guatemala. The Ixil Region is one of the most remote areas of our country. It is in the province of Quiché and is one of the parts of Guatemala most affected by poverty.
As WINGS started to take our services to Ixil, particularly the villages of Nebaj, Cotzal and Chajul, there were definitely moments of uncertainty on the part of our Mobile Unit team, since the known routes are difficult and the communities are incredibly hard to access. During our first clinic in Ixil, we especially appreciated the participation of Ministry of Health staff as they accompanied us to the remote communities where we were pleased to attend to 42 patients, among them 38 cervical cancer screenings (through visual inspection with acetic acid - VIA), 6 cryotherapy treatments, 4 subdermal hormonal implants, and 7 IUDs. We considered these results to be a great achievement, given language barriers and the culture of the area.
Among all the cases, one was special. Marisol was a 24 year old mom from Santa Avelina Cotzal, who had 4 children and weighed 99 pounds. She approached our nurses very fearfully, indicating that she was there only for a cervical cancer screening. But then, in a very low voice, she told us that she wanted to receive a contraceptive method because she no longer wanted to have more children. However, her husband refused to let her use a method and she was very afraid because her mother-in-law was standing just outside the clinic room.
She was counselled about the IUD as a discreet option where no one in her family would know about her chosen method. When her VIA results showed a positive result, the situation became a bit more complex since being treated with cryotherapy would mean that she should not have sex for at least a month.
The case was presented to the district nurse to address it jointly. Guidance counseling was given, and a commitment was made to hold a meeting with the husband, family, and health personnel to safeguard the client's integrity if she so chose in the future.
At last, after nearly an hour, she decided to place the IUD and receive treatment with cryotherapy, saying that she felt comfortable and protected.
As a nursing team we were happy and satisfied to have contributed to preventing cervical cancer and to support the wishes of this young mother by limiting her risk of pregnancy with an IUD. I am reminded with these cases of the important work that WINGS accomplishes by travelling to the most hard-to-reach areas and centering our care on doing what is best for each patient. I will never forget Marisol.
Clinic Day in Ixil
Clinic Day in Ixil