Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mbrohu, Testohu!

The past few months, my office and I have been writing, planning, and preparing for a giant grant project that makes me SO EXCITED. We're calling it "Mbrohu, Testohu!" (Check Yourself, Protect Yourself) and it focuses on training nurses from surrounding villages in breast and cervical cancer prevention and detection. We're also trying to find ways to help empower nurses in their sites, increase community dialogue about health and prevention, and encourage new methods to reach out to women.

We're incredibly lucky to have the help of a specialist from the National Institute of Health, Dr. Lumturi Merkuri. In a country as small as Albania, I still find myself chuckling when I mention her name and everyone - everyone - in the health community knows exactly who she is. She's a fantastic crusader for women's health and has a new training session to work with nurses. As part of our grant, she is presenting her breast cancer training, and afterwards will (hopefully be able to) help us develop a cervical cancer detection training this fall.

We had our first training with 20 nurses about two weeks ago. Only four of the five invited health centers showed up (whomp whooooomp), but the nurses who attended were active participants and genuinely benefited from the materials. Now, they each must identify at least one women with an immediate need for a mammogram, in which way we can test their skills mastery (and we have budgeted for these women to receive free treatment).

There were some Peace Corps visitors at the training as well - thanks to Jill, Paulina, and Teresa for attending! It was so much fun to have you there.

We have another training this upcoming Tuesday for another 25 nurses from five other villages, which will conclude the training piece of part one. Then on to cervical cancer training curriculum development (say that five times fast...go!), hopefully with a gynecology specialist from the I.Sh.P. who works with Dr. Merkuri.

Fun fact: I actually had coffee with her when I was in Tirana this past Monday. I thought we were going to talk about the training and future plans, but she surprised me by chatting about where to travel in Albania, her teenage son, and my summer plans. And I had a wonderful time! I'm so looking forward to next Tuesday, and hopefully it will all go well!

Peace Corps lent us two breast models with small lumps to practice manual exams.

Alright, ladies, let's all practice!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! I am extremely proud of you. Love, Mom