SOFIA JARKING LOPEZ by Sallie Weissinger
Most of today's patients came from Laguna de Perlas, right here where we are working in the clinic, or from towns nearby. But not Sofia Jarking, a 62-year old midwife ("partera") whose home in El Cedro is not a hop, skip, and a jump away. Sofia's trip took her ten hours - two by horseback and eight by boat - and part of that boat ride was in torrential rains. She spent last night at a "casa materna" (a maternity waiting home, where pregnant women from distant villages come to stay in anticipation of childbirth) and will spend tonight there as well. Tomorrow she will head back home, again by boat and horseback.
Sofia's visual inspection with vinegar was "inadequate", which means that the clinicians were not able to see the entire area that would tell them if there was any suspicious activity (low or high grade lesions) that could lead to cervical cancer. So they did a PAP smear to be sure they got the full story. Sofia said she has had many PAP smears in the past, but has never gotten her results. She has called the various clinics and labs to follow up, but has never been able to find out the results. This time, however, was going to be different. In Laguna de Perlas PINCC brought along a cyto-technologist, Fatima Figueroa, to provide quick turnaround results. We didn't have electricity at the clinic all day yesterday, but today we did. So the microscope went at full speed today, making up for lost time. By mid-afternoon we had her results - the results of the PAP smear were negative and all was fine - and two PINCC volunteers walked over to the casa materna to give her a copy of her results. Tomorrow she will head home on her ten-hour trip, her mission accomplished.