Honduran mothers screened for cervical cancer
February 8, 2011
Editor's note: According to the United Nations, cervical cancer caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) claims the lives of more than 270,000 women each year, the majority of whom live in developing countries. Cervical cancer is the 12th most common and the fifth most deadly cancer among women.
Mothers of sponsored children in Santa Barbara, Honduras, are taking steps to ensure their health, thanks to the CFCA Healthy Communities Fund.
Suyapa Sabillón Fernández, licensed nurse, gives a presentation to
mothers of CFCA sponsored children about cervical cancer. Jose
Luis Pineda, the project's correspondence department assistant,
took the picture.
Last fall, 1,100 mothers in the project were educated about cervical cancer. More than 870 women received screening exams.
"Most mothers of sponsored children don’t know about this problem," Santa Barbara Coordinator Manuel Pineda said. "The lack of economic resources prevents them from taking proper care of their health, increasing the high risk of cervical cancer among them."
This benefit was financed by donations to the CFCA Healthy Communities Fund. The fund’s objective is to improve the health and hygiene of sponsored members, their families and their communities by supporting initiatives that focus on treating and preventing illnesses.
Besides a lack of economic resources, fear and distrust have hindered many of these mothers from getting exams. They found CFCA to be a place where they feel respected and cared for.
"CFCA educated me about this form of cancer," said Elisia, one of the mothers who participated in the campaign. "The nurses were very nice and gentle. Now, I understand how important it is for me to be healthy because my children are little and need me."
Pineda credits the campaign for alerting mothers to the threat of cervical cancer.
"We now have mothers who understand this problem, its consequences and prevention," Pineda said. "And mothers are educated and motivated to lecture their own daughters and friends about their health care."
Pineda said the project is now working to provide medication and follow-up care for the mothers with positive diagnoses and to bring the campaign to other communities served by the project.