Community Mobilization for Cervical Screening Camps at SughaVazhvu Healthcare by Julia Goldberg
Cervical Screeningand Women’s Health Presentation Julia Goldberg ICTPH Intern
Introduction of SughaVazhvu• We are SughaVazhvu and we are here to talk with you about women’s health issues and cervical screening we offer through our clinics.• We run seven clinics in Tamil Nadu communities, providing health care for you and your family.• Our mission is to “Create disease free villages” and we conduct research and develop interventions to fight community health problems.
About the clinic• A doctor works at the clinics from 9:30am-6pm every day, Monday through Saturday, providing primary care.• You should all have ID cards from our clinic, and you should bring these cards with you whenever you come to our clinic.
Women’s Health• Today will focus on women’s health and the services our clinics provide for women’s health in the community.• Women’s health is a part of primary care and is important for well-being of family. Particular health issues affect women all throughout their life, as girls mature into women and as women age.• I will discuss the health topics of menstruation, contraception, menopause, reproductive tract infections, and cancer. For each I will explain what they are and the most useful information that you should know.
Menstruation• Menstruation is the monthly cycle when women bleed through their vagina. A woman’s period comes about every month. You are probably familiar with your cycle already. It is important to be aware of your regular cycle – how often your period comes, how long you have it for, and how heavy your discharge is.• Sometimes women might notice an irregular cycle. They might bleed between their normal monthly periods, their discharge might be a different color, or it might last longer than usual. If you bleed between periods or have these other symptoms, you should come in to the clinic to talk with the doctor. It might be a symptom of a different problem.• Also, sometimes women have cramps when they have their period or other uncomfortable symptoms. You can talk to the doctor to see how you can best deal with these issues.• It is very important to stay hygienic during your period. Otherwise, you can develop infections or other health problems. We recommend using sanitary napkins during your period. They are hygienic and collect the blood from your period, and after use of a half a day, you can discard the pad. They are relatively inexpensive, comfortable, and more hygienic and safe than rags or other methods you might use.• We have sanitary napkins available in the clinic.
Contraception• Contraception should be used when a woman does not want to get pregnant but is still having intercourse. There are both reversible and irreversible methods of contraception. Male condoms are perhaps the most widely used form of contraception. Male condoms are used each time a couple has intercourse to prevent the fertilization of her eggs.• Women can also take oral contraceptives, which are pills that prevent a woman from getting pregnant at that time. If a woman later decides to have children, she can just stop taking the pills and she can again get pregnant.• There are also more permanent forms of contraception. Women can get intrauterine devices that are inserted into the woman’s body to prevent her from getting pregnant.• If you have more questions about contraception and other ways to prevent pregnancy while still having intercourse, come in to our clinic. You can ask the doctor about contraception in a confidential space.
Menopause• Menopause is a natural and biological process in which women stop having their period. This usually happens to women in their late forties or early fifties.• Women can have different symptoms of menopause. Some women have hot flashes, when they suddenly feel hot and can get red blotches on their skin. Other women might have trouble sleeping, night sweats, and have more mood changes.• To counteract some of these effects, we recommend that you stay active and don’t smoke.• If you feel you have other changes or symptoms, come in to the clinic to talk with the doctor.
Infections• Another major issue in women’s health is reproductive tract infections.• A woman’s reproductive system is involved in the process of getting pregnant and giving birth. This system is composed of parts in a woman’s pelvic region, including the vagina, the cervix, the uterus, the fallopian tubes, and the ovaries. Infections can affect different parts of this system. Infections of the vagina can be visible externally, whereas infections of the cervix might only be visible with an internal examination.• You can get infections if you do not wash hygienically when you go to the bathroom or when you have your period. Infections can also be spread during intercourse. For the latter, use condoms as often as possible to prevent the spread of infections.• These infections can lead to health problems like rashes and warts. Infection of the cervix can even lead to cancer. Most infections are treatable with antibiotics.• Some symptoms of infections include abnormal discharge or bleeding between your periods.
Cervical Screening• We have a camp day at your clinic specifically focused on cervical screening. The screening looks for abnormalities on your cervix.• The cervix is the lower part of your uterus. It is part of a woman’s reproductive system and it serves as a connection between the uterus and the vagina. Normally it is a very small opening to the uterus, but during childbirth, the cervix opens to allow the baby to pass through.• Infections can cause problems with your cervix, and sometimes can lead to cancer.
Cervical Abnormalities• Cancer or other cervical abnormalities can take many years to develop, and there might not even be any symptoms that something is developing. There can be lesions or other abnormal growth on your cervix that you would not know about. The cervical screening procedure catches the progression of different abnormal growths at an early stage, before it develops into something dangerous, so it is much easier to treat and cure.• Women who are 26 years old and are married should get screened, which includes most of you here today.
Screening Process• The camp at the clinic will last from 9:30am through 6pm. Remember to come in with your ID card. You will first get basic measurements taken and then will get the screening exam done.• The screening procedure is done in a separate room by a female health practitioner. The procedure is free and the results are confidential.
VIA/VILI Exam• We use the VIA/VILI exam to screen for cervical abnormalities. This is a simple and quick test. Gowns are used to cover your body, and the procedure includes an internal exam.• The doctor uses a speculum to look at the cervix and to see if there are any abnormalities.• There might be minimal discomfort associated with the procedure, but there are no side effects.• You get the results of your procedure right away, and talk with the doctor about them.• If you get a positive test result, this is no reason to worry. You would just need to continue following up with the doctor to confirm test results and to discuss the treatment process. Infections can often be detected and treated easily with medication, as well as any other cervical abnormalities.• The entire procedure is free, but if you need medication you must pay for it at the clinic.
Resources at Camp• Come in to the clinic to talk to the doctor about the screening and about any other health issues. We have a cervical screening camp day, so you can come with family and friends and all get screened. You can also come other days of the week since we always offer cervical screening at the clinic.• We also have pamphlets and other resources available for you to learn more about cervical screening. Come in to the clinic and ask the doctor any questions you might have.
Closing message• Women’s health is of extreme importance. It is also an area of health about which education is lacking. We, at SughaVazhvu, are trying to change that. We are working hard to educate about women’s health as well as to provide services to the women of the community.• We have a screening camp at your clinic, but we also perform screenings every day. Remember, all women over the age of 26 years old should be screened! You can also come in any day to talk with the doctor about any health problems you might have.• Thank you for listening and we hope to see you soon at the clinic!