The Manager and President of the HCC recently returned from country visits to Grenada and Dominica where they were able to see first hand how funds provided by the Australian Direct AID Program and managed by the HCC are contributing to a coordinated multi-facted community based response to cervical cancer. In Grenada, prevention and advocacy are the focus of the Grenada Cancer Society’s sub project which has already produced a radio jingle to be launched nationally in March. A documentary featuring survivors of cervical cancer is currently under development and will shed light on the journey of women diagnosed with the disease in that country. Dr. Barrymore McBarnette, a local physician and president of the GCS noted that a recent cervical cancer study revealed that cervical cancer related mortality is on the rise and attributed this to late screening, delayed treatment and limited treatment options in the island. In addition to the jingle and documentary, the GCS is working with NGO partners and the Ministry of Health to develop evidence informed awareness materials to combat cervical cancer myths and encourage pap testing among women in rural areas. While in Grenada, the HCC was pleased to meet with the GCS Executive Board; the Minister of Health, Honourable Dr. Clarice Modeste; Ms. Shere-ann Noel of CC-6 Television; and NCD NGOs, Planned Parenthood, Grenada National Organisation of Women, Central Health Grenada, and the Grenada Diabetes Association.
In Dominica, the focus is on meeting some of the treatment needs of underserved women diagnosed with cervical cancer. The Dominica Cancer Society is working in partnership with the local hospital oncologist Dr. Malaka to provide treatment vouchers for women with greatest need. The project is also highly collaborative with community partners and the Ministry of Health, supporting the development of educational materials and the training of outreach volunteers which will serve to expand the work of the DCS in this area. Tina Alexander of the Executive Board remarked that the ‘side effects’ of the project have been so positive – including strengthening the capacity of the DCS around cervical cancer, creating new partnerships, and building the operational capacity of the organisation withe the purchase of much needed equipment. Vinna Royer, Ex President and member noted that membership in the HCC has allowed the DCS to cultivate critical partnerships with CSOs across the Caribbean including the Cancer Institute of Guyana (also a subgrantee on this project) where DCS has referred cervical cancer patients for treatment.
While in Dominica, the HCC was pleased to meet with the DCS Executive Board; the Ministry of Health Health Promotion team; NCD NGOs, The Dove Club, The Council on Ageing, The Diabetes Association and Lifeline Ministries; and long standing member of the HCC, Dr. Gerald Grell. A special note of thanks to His Excellency The Honourable Charles Angelo Savarin, President of Dominica, for taking the time to meet with the President of the HCC, Professor Sir Trevor Hassell.
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