Eleven healthcare providers drawn from the North Tongu District have undergone a five-day training programme to equip them to provide cervical cancer screening services for the female population in the district.
The healthcare providers comprised a midwife, five general nurses and five community health nurses. The group were taken through a one-and-half day theory session and a three-and-half days’ practical session on visual inspection of acetic acid (VIA), processes involved in early detection of cancer of the cervix and cryotherapy and early treatment of the disease at its evolving stage. The participants also undertook an outreach programme at Juapong.
The training was provided by ‘Save My Mother’ (SMM), a non-governmental organisation committed to maternal health care in SOS Villages. It was led by Dr Edward Dassah, who also works with the Female Cancer Foundation, as well as Madam Rebecca Bantey, a midwife at the Asiakwa SOS Village.
Dr Kofi Effah, a Gynaecologist with the Catholic Hospital at Battor, was also a resource person.
The SMM team also shared and used procedures and tips from long-standing experiences of the team from Battor in applying more advanced screening methods in their approach to cervical cancer.
The methods applied included the use of the EVA system, colposcopy, use of Lugol's iodine and some simple steps in VIA diagnoses such as screening without the use of KY gel and spatulas.
When administered efficiently, the methods would help cut down the cost of screening for VIA.
As part of the practical session, the participants screened 214 women, who volunteered for the exercise and to be used as case studies by the healthcare providers under training.
In the course of the exercise, seven women tested positive for cervical cancer out of which four were treated with cryotherapy and the remaining three referred to the gynaecologist at the Catholic Hospital at Battor for further evaluation, all for free.
Dr Effah said the training would enable more women to have easy access to cervical cancer screening and save many who were losing their lives through the dangerous but curable disease because they did not know about it.
He said the training exercise would equip the healthcare providers to serve women who needed the service most but who, oftentimes, stayed away because of the high cost involved in cervical cancer screening.
Dr Effah said the training given to the healthcare providers would make cervical cancer services affordable.