Assisting Women's Health in Peru's Amazon Region
After a meeting in Lima with Diana Bowie of DB Peru back in August, we decided we would like to show our support for this hugely worthwhile project. So now, for every client who books a Rainforest Cruises' vacation, we will donate $1 per day of your trip to DB Peru. And this report from October 2012's Women's Health Jungle Trip gives an idea of where that money will be going.
This was their third trip to the Amazon region around Iquitos in Peru, to provide education about women’s health and examinations. To give some context to the importance of the work, 'statistics show that cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer contracted by women in Peru. Women in Peru are three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with this type of cancer than women in the USA. The likelihood of mortality exacerbates the problem: the mortality rate for women in Peru is 5 times higher than for women in the USA. These are sobering facts for Peruvian women.'
With a very international group of volunteers, local obstetrician, Elvie, and nurse Vanessa from Mazan accompanied us to provide birth control and collect pap smears. Claire Murray from Australia did an amazing job of teaching and performing breast exams. Third-time returning volunteer, Yvonne Galloway, from England/USA oversaw the set-up of the exam rooms and assisted. Elodie Maggia, from France, assisted with birth control. Helen Dauris, from the UK, and Sonia Kandathil, from the USA, registered patients and kept things organized. Games for the children were organized by Susan Murray, from Australia, and Gail Rolseth, from Canada, at some distance from the classroom, which allowed a quiet atmosphere for our teaching and exams.
In all, 44 women from the three villages of San Juan de Floresta, Centro Unido, and Llachapa received exams and had pap smears. Each woman who presented to the exam area was fitted and received a bra. Women from all over Lima, and the volunteers themselves, donated bras for this project and we want to thank them. This activity tends to generate laughing and interaction that breaks up some of the tension of having the exam for the first time.
One of the highlights was when the teachers at the high school approached us about allowing their teenage students to sit-in on our sexual education classes. After the initial laughing and awkwardness, more than 60 students listened to the lecture, and then proceeded to ask serious questions for more than an hour. Very powerful.