Jeff and Leslee Jaeger, and Tim Neary are on volunteer medical mission and sending updates on Helping Haiti Work projects. Leslee stresses the importance of your donations to promote women’s businesses in northern Haiti:
3 years ago we started a cervical cancer screening program. Yesterday it became very apparent why this education and screening is necessary. We diagnosed 3 women with end stage cervical cancer. One of these women will probably die in a few weeks, another is only 34 years old and has 5 children that depend on her. Even in the US, these women have such advanced disease that they would only be eligible for hospice type treatment. The screening test is simple, taking only 5 minutes and costing 50 cents in supplies. Precancerous changes can be caught early and easily treated with a 90% cure rate. Unfortunately, all of these women have had their disease for many years and will die of a disease that is the number one cause of cancer death for women in the developing world. We are working to expand our program, teaching local physicians and nurses how to screen and treat. Later today 2 of our nurses will visit a local church and provide education to a women’s group. When we visit our micofinance recipients this week, we encourage them to bring their friends for screening and to spread the word about the preventive services available. The microfinance women are leaders in their community and are respected for their business knowledge. We hope they will also be listened to when they spread the word about cervical cancer. By funding more loans, we will be able to involve more women in not only businesses, but also to serve a role models for their communities.