by Ellen Starr, MSN, WHNP; first published 8/10/23
Grounds for Health is a non-profit organization that provides cervical cancer screening and treatment to women working in poor communities where coffee, tea, cut flowers and cocoa are grown. They partner with coffee cooperatives, local health organizations and in-country NGOs, and they train local health providers in effective ways to screen for and treat cervical pre-cancers. Here is an update from the Executive Director.
We have officially reached the landmark of 200,000 women screened in our efforts to bring woman-centered, high quality health care to some of the most rural and underserved communities around the world. I only wish we’d had the chance to put a crown on that 200,000th woman’s head!
Over the past 26 years, we have worked tirelessly in Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya to reach this goal and we are very proud. I am especially proud to report that half of those women have been seen in just the past 5 years. That trajectory bodes well for our growing impact as we look towards our future.
Our years of experience have allowed us to fine tune how we work and to develop models that increase our efficiency without sacrificing quality.
And of course, screening serves no purpose without treatment when precancerous lesions are identified. I am equally proud to report that over the past 5 years we have also achieved an average of a 91% treatment rate. Given the many barriers to treatment that women may have in rural coffee communities including transportation, work, childcare and, in some instances, permission from her husband, this is an impressive number.
Last of all, I am thrilled with all the Grounds for Health staff that have dedicated themselves to reducing the chances that women will die of cervical cancer in the coffee regions over the last 26 years.
The impact of every death from cervical cancer is far reaching. Each death represents a loss to the community and the work force, as well as the primary contributor to a functioning household where an average of 6 people may live. Each loss is the life of a mother, a wife, a daughter a co-worker and a friend. So yes, that landmark 200,000 women reached is significant – and worthy of our pride.
Thank you to all of our supporters and friends for helping us reach that 200,000th woman!