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The inauguration was an emotional moment for everyone. Nataly would finally be able to support her family and care for her children. Her son lost his arm three years ago in an accident with a cane cutting machine (full story here.) Nataly's family went under financially trying to cover the cost of the medical bills from the accident. Nataly told us the best thing for her would be able to work close enough to her home to still care for her kids. One of the pillars of the MEDLIFE ideology is sustainable development and support, therefore, MEDLIFE made it our mission to make this hope of Nataly's a reality. The MEDLIFE summer interns from 2016 fundraised for the project, and last week we delivered the cart to Nataly!
MEDLIFE recently completed our second of two massive staircases in Ecuador, drastically improving access to the community of Llinllin Santa Fe. The path is used by the communities school children to get to school, and now they can safely descend the mountainside to their school.
This Winter clinic season MEDLIFE performed around 300 pap smears in Lima and 270 in Ecuador to screen for cervical cancer.
In Ecuador our nurses deliver the results to community leaders, who hand out the results. In Lima, we used to rely on community leaders to hand out the results of the tests, but we realized the results were not always getting to our patients.
Our nurses decided that the only way to make sure their patients got the results was to deliver them themselves. They go community by community and call each patient to get them their results. They then explain the results to each patient and leave them their phone number so they can get in touch if they have questions.
Pap smears are an important screening for cervical cancer and can catch the disease while it is still treatable. They also test for various kinds of infections. Many of the women in our communities have never gotten a test nor are they aware of why they should get them. When we have a patient with an infection of some kind, we give them a prescription for the medicine they need. If they test positive for cancer, we get them an appointment with an oncologist and accompany them. Luckily, no one has tested positive for cancer yet this season.
Getting the tests in our Mobile Clinics gets them that first test, but it also serves the purpose of teaching patients about cervical cancer and why it is important to get yearly tests.
MEDprograms was initially concerned when they noticed the number of pap smears going down in the communities the more we visited. But after speaking with the women in the community, we learned that they had taken up the habit of getting a yearly test on their own. Medlife’s educational approach is working!
As more women get tested regularly in our Mobile Clinics, we expect to see fewer cases of untreatable cervical cancer and more women getting tested regularly in the future!
Last friday, the community of Laderas Nueva Esperanza was able to inaugurate a new water reservoir. The project was the result of three years of collaboration between MEDLIFE, leaders from Laderas and the sponsorship of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of California-Berkeley MEDLIFE chapters. Through fundraising efforts and donations, the UW-Madison and UC Berkeley chapters were able to contribute to the project and members were present to witness the inauguration.
Laderas, located in the foothills of Lima, is not serviced by SEDAPAL, the city water supply of Lima, and relied on purchasing water from private vendors at a higher price. The water reservoir will help the community by allowing them to store more water in a clean and sanitary facility.