There are so many updates on our midwife and women's health programs that I am not sure where to begin!
First of all, I am writing this right now in the airport on the way to Guatemala, in part to attend a graduation ceremony for the classes of midwives that we are supporting. For a number of years, we have supported a midwifery cooperative of some 100 midwives, who get together for training sessions and professional development. However, three years ago, we added a new training track especially for young women interested in getting into the profession for the first time. Over the past thre years they have participated in formal classroom and clinical activities - and they will be graduating this week! This is a major accomplishment for the cooperative, and we are proud to have played a small role. I will make sure to post some photos from the ceremony later on!
In other news, this week is also important because our women's health nursing staff are receiving training from a volunteer gynecologist visiting from the United States. Already, our women's health nurses are providing a wide range of medical services to women, including cervical cancer screening and access to birth control methods. This week, they will be learning how to insert intrauterine devices (IUDs), which will be a major boost to our family planning programs. At the same time, they will be learning to use basic laboratory technology to diagnosis common sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. This technology will allow them to immediately identify women infected with these disease and provide on the spot treatment.
Finally, our women's sexual health classes continue to be a big hit. Currently, we are offering simultaneous classes in four different communities (where we also have other projects, such as child nutrition programs). In 2012, our goal is to provide these classes to at least 250 new women, and we will keep you updated on progress towards that goal!