After a nice break, we are back on the job at the Centre Hospitalier Regional de St. Louis. It is a hospital that GoDocGo has visited in November of 2017 and again in June of 2018. This is our third visit here. I am the roving photographer trying to give you a glimpse inside a day in the life of GoDocGo while on the road.
Today we are screening for HPV – Human Papilloma Virus in addition to using visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) to screen for cervical cancer. HPV causes ninety-nine percent of cervical cancer.
We have been joined by Youxiang Wang, the owner of Atila Biosystems located in Mountain View, CA, his son, Zach Wang and Xin Chen who is a scientist who works with Youxiang. Atila Biosystems has developed the Ampfire HPV testing unit and reagents to immediately read the results of the HPV test.
There are over fifty patients here today for HPV and cervical cancer screenings. In addition to the patients, several of the midwives get screened as well. The doctors are also administrating breast exams and showing the women how they can check themselves at home.
GoDocGo has bought the Amfire HPV testing machine for this hospital and the team from Atila is here to train the doctors on how to use the machines. This is the first general hospital in Senegal to have HPV testing which is really amazing.
The benefits of HPV screenings are that if the results are negative, the women do not need a speculum exam and they only need to be screened every five years. If the results are positive, further testing is needed.
Right now, Dr. Carpenter is checking a patient who tested positive last week and is being rechecked because the midwives wanted a second opinion while we are here. This could not have happened if we were not coming on a regular basis.
This is a perfect example to see how the money that you give to GoDocGO is being used. It would not be possible for us to provide this machinery without your donations and it would not be possible to read the results of the swabs without the machine. We have brought 1,000 HPV tests for this hospital and the tests cost $5.00 per person to administer. So, you can really see your dollars at work. We could not do it without our donors. Thank you!!
What I find truly different here in Senegal, is the feeling of empowerment that exists between the women. There is a comradery between the midwives and the patients and the midwives and us. These midwives have come to know us and trust Maggie and the others on the GoDocGo team which is yet another benefit of coming back on a regular basis.
It has been a full day. For me, without a medical background, I am learning so much. I think that I need to come on a more regular basis to awaken my French. Right now, I am in the exam room and have been put in the role of translator. It is like opening a vault that has been sealed for several years. First my mind thinks in English, then Spanish and then the French starts to come. Although each day, more French comes back which has been useful these days.