Esperança

Your support is saving the lives of Bolivian women from uterine cancer

Your support is saving the lives of Bolivian women from uterine cancer Marta lives in San Salvador, Bolivia. She has four adult children who are the most important treasures in her life and is a seamstress, making clothing from home. Marta has heard stories of women who have died from uterine cancer and until recently, she did not know it was preventable. Though over 40 years of age herself, Marta had never had a Papanicolaou (pap) test – considered the gold standard of early detection of uterine cancer. She says, “I have so much sewing to catch up on that I never found the time to take that test. I have heard that cervical cancer kills many women, but I didn’t know where to get the test, and I believed that the cost was prohibitive, so I kept putting it off.”

In Bolivia, as in many countries in the developing world, health prevention and education information are scarce. To educate women about life-saving tests, Esperanza Bolivia, Esperança’s local partner, has teamed up with a government agency to reach more than 30 communities with television and radio campaigns, educational materials, and referrals so that women can get the pap exams – many of them, like Marta, for the first time.

Response has been overwhelmingly positive. Many women, after understanding the importance of this critical test, have volunteered in their communities to spread the word and organize “community chats.” Many of Marta’s neighbors have gone to get the exam and the word is spreading! Marta says, “In the neighborhood chat, we were informed that we could get the test in our neighborhood health center, and for free. Right after the meeting, I went to get my test. I am happy to know that I can continue working – making clothing – without worries.” Marta wants to reach more women to prevent them from dying from this disease. Through your partnership with Esperança, Marta now knows that the test can detect problems in the cervix, and that treatment and exams are given for free.

Elena Burr