(Department of Public Information) The Public Health Ministry handed over a cryotherapy machine to the staff of the Mahdia District Hospital on Friday.
The machine is used to treat early signs of cervical cancer and other abnormalities. Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery, has been widely accepted as a practical and effective method of treating precancerous cervical lesions worldwide. Extreme cold is applied to the lesion using a cryoprobe (an extremely cold probe) to freeze the lesion.
This machine is one of several others which were purchased by the Maternal and Child Health Programme of the Ministry of Public Health. The purchase was made after a needs-assessment was conducted for this particular service in several regions.
Midwife Malinda Haramottoo and Registered Nurse, Wendy John were trained to operate this machine and also to render VIA services in the region. This is all part of a plan to establish a VIA unit followed by a cancer treatment centre at the hospital, that will cater to the needs of women in other parts of the region.
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence who visited the hospital to hand over the equipment, highlighted the significance and importance of having such service available in the Potaro-Siparuni Region.
“Small though it may appear, this kit is priceless. Because of this little machine, we are going to be able to save many lives… We want the women in this region to be healthy… We want to identify their issues at the earliest stage,” she said.
The machine has already been assembled, and its service is being offered free of cost in the region. Women living in the area can now opt to use the service provided at the Mahdia District Hospital rather than journeying to Georgetown or even to a private facility.
“Our Indigenous women are more susceptible to cervical cancer… this hospital serves several Indigenous communities. So, we know it is our duty to equip this hospital with the necessary things that can assist our women in getting an early diagnosis, and also ensure that the diagnosis is correct.”
Minister Lawrence, ‘a cancer warrior’, joined with Regional Executive Officer (REO), Mitzy Campbell, another a cancer survivor, to emphasise the importance of early diagnosis. They noted that cervical cancer is among the leading causes of death in women.
“I am a cancer survivor… I can speak to the importance of this level intervention by MoPH. We can take care of our ladies, so please, do make use of this,” noted Campbell, a survivor for more than twenty years.
Trecia Hubbard, Ward Sister at the hospital, commended the minister for the efforts made to improve services thus far. She noted that women living in areas, far from the hospital, will be provided with this service through medical outreaches, which will be facilitated.
More staff will be trained to operate additional machines which will be acquired and used throughout the region. The intention is to decentralise the service further, making it more accessible to the Indigenous women in Region 8.