Recently we completed some needs assessment work in a few of the rural communities where we are working. One of the most important things to come out of these surveys is that more than 70% of women have no access to contraception! Furthermore, in our clinical work providing pap smear/cervical cancer screening to women, we continue to diagnose extremely high rates of sexually transmitted infections. Taken together, these experience show how little health care there is in rural Guatemala for women!
On the ground, our local nursing staff have now been trained on how to run the sexual health classes, and they are now operating independently. We just completed another round of classes in our central urban location in Santiago Sacatepéquez. Based on the need we are finding in rural areas, we will be expanding these offerings into the rural communities we work in, providing classes on site in these locations! These classes are extremely well received and offer an opportunity to women to talk about the issues they face. They also provide a way for them to plug in to our clinical services, such as cervical cancer screening and treatment of common menstrual disorders and sexually transmitted infections.
In other news, the ACOTCHI midwifery cooperative continues to grow. Recently a long term lease was signed on a property to build the first-ever comprehensive midwife-run birthing center in rural Guatemala. Another separate property was also acquired, which will serve as an educational center for the community.
Stay tuned for more exciting news in months to come!