An early start to our first day with the PINCC team included a hearty breakfast at 6:30 and filling two vans that headed out of San Salvador to the town of Nejapa. There we joined 33 doctors and nurses for a day of training. The nurses and some of the doctors (this week known as students) learned about the disease process of cervical cancer and the visual inspection procedure with acetic acid (AKA common kitchen vinegar) known as VIA. This is the low cost, very transportable, visual screening that PINCC takes on the road to low-resource countries.
The remaining doctors and nurses spent the day learning to be trainers or maestras to the students. They will be the extra set of eyes and voice of wisdom that will guide the students in their learning experience this week. Many of the physicians have already been certified in the VIA screening technique, as well as some in the two areas of treatment. True to PINCC´s vision of developing a self-sustaining program, these participants are an example of the trained becoming the trainers. Remember the proverb about giving a man a fish to feed his immediate hunger versus teaching him how to fish? This is exactly what PINCC is doing!
Knowing that the training that is happening now is going to contribute to the health and wellness of the women being screened gives me the chills! Since cervical cancer is so preventable what is being done has such great importance!
Seeing the enthusiasm of the participants today and hearing their thoughtful questions (okay...through some help with interpretation!) made me proud to be here to support PINCC. Watching their gentle and compassionate bedside manner as they acted out the various scenarios convinced me that their patients will be in good hands!
Tomorrow we´ll get to see all of this hard work put into action. Stay tuned!
Ruthann Marquis, Portland OR