With the care and support of Kunming Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission, United Family Healthcare and its charity arm the United Foundation for China’s Health conducted two-cancer screenings free-of-charge for rural women in three poor towns and villages of Xundian County.
Cervical cancer and breast cancer are high-risk diseases among women. However, due to the limited level of transportation, economy, education and medical care, prevention and treatment work is far from being taken seriously in vast rural areas of China. Given that the role of women, especially mothers, is of utmost importance to the family, United Family Healthcare decided to bring its quality medical resources to local women and provide them with free screening and treatment.
In consideration of the education level of local women, Ms. Roberta Lipson, CEO and Founder of United Family Healthcare, personally recorded the teaching video of HPV self-test during the preparatory period, so as to improve the testing rate. Due to the large number of tested people, staff of the Foundation designed five labels to deal with the testing process to avoid sample confusion. We are also sincerely grateful to GE Healthcare for kindly providing breast examination color ultrasound equipment for this public welfare activity free of charge.
On July 21st, 2018, the United Family Wheels for Life mobile clinic started from Beijing filled with materials and arrived safely in Xundian on July 24th after four days. The two drivers overcame the difficulties of weather and rugged mountainous roads along the way, and delivered the materials the day before the arrival of the main group. At noon on July 25th, foreign experts, Chinese staff and volunteers from the United States, Canada and Israel assembled at Kunming Changshui Airport.
Diagnosis and treatment
At 7am on the morning of July 26th, experts from the United Family Healthcare, staff from Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Hospital, Xundian County Health and Family Planning Bureau and the County Maternal and Child Care and Family Planning Service Center as well as volunteers from DaDa arrived in Diansha Township timely to start the first stop of this public welfare activity.
Diansha Township is over 30 kilometers away from Xundian County, but it is closed to the outside world due to the rugged mountainous roads. Local health centers are not qualified for treating serious medical cases. Once people catch a disease, they have no other way but travel a long distance to Kunming. Many families have missed the best time for treatment because of traffic and economic reasons. Therefore, the public welfare activity of the United Family Healthcare and the Foundation was warmly welcomed by the local government and the public. Early in the morning, local rural women aged between 35 and 64 left their homes after hearing the news and lined up in front of the hospital. At the sight of this scene, the staff immediately started the work in an orderly manner according to the plan without any breaks.
The work arrangement was as follows: publicity education outside the hospital, information collection and breast B-ultrasound examination on the first floor, the leucorrhea test and test results feedback on the second floor, and HPV sampling and examination, gynecological examination and positive case colposcopy on the third floor. Staff had to go up- and downstairs between the three floors frequently. Because the local area is on a plateau, the staff had breathing difficulty and muscle soreness after going up and down the stairs so often. But no one complained or flinched.
Instead, everyone kept smiling, bringing the ICARE culture that has always been respected by the United Family Healthcare to women in remote mountain villages.
Local folk customs are simple. However, staff members felt difficult to communicate with local people speaking dialects, and could not understand the simple language unless they repeated themselves many times. After working for a day, staff members were too tired to speak. Foreign experts from afar relied on sign language and body language to communicate with the public.
During the summer vacation, many mothers lined up together with their unattended children, and some even came together with their young babies on their backs. The United Family Healthcare medical team deeply felt that the local women lacked relevant medical treatment services, so they were extremely enthusiastic about the two-cancer screenings with great expectations. Despite the fatigue and the hoarse voices, staff members still stuck to their posts and enthusiastically carried out medical treatment for the people. At noon, everyone took turns to eat a simple lunch and continued working without taking a break.
In just two days from July 25th to July 26th, Chinese and foreign experts and local medical teams screened a total of 1063 patients in Diansha Township, Xundian County. After using the 1000 labels prepared in advance, they handwrote dozens of labels urgently. Every woman who came was screened. 1063 screenings was not just a simple number; it was a miracle that has not been previously imagined. Behind this number was the silent support of many partners, and the plan made by the Foundation staff during numerous sleepless nights before departure. It was the result of cooperation between Chinese and foreign experts, local medical teams and volunteers. Everyone involved is so proud of this number!
We departed at 7am in the morning and returned to the station at 9pm in the evening. Regardless of the physical and mental exhaustion, staff members held a wrap-up seminar for the next stop. With the rain drizzling outside the window, people in the room had reddish eyes and hoarse voices, but the atmosphere was unusually friendly and peaceful.
Tomorrow is another day and, for you, we are on the road.
Healing Brings Hope
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