Trip to Diansha Township-United Family Healthcare & Foundation
By Grace Li
With the care and support of Kunming Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission, United Family Healthcare and Foundation conducted two-cancer screenings for rural women for free 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, the prevention and treatment work is far from being taken seriously in the 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, Madame Roberta Lipson, CEO 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 and avoid sample confusion. We are also sincerely grateful to GE Healthcare for providing breast examination color ultrasound equipment for this public welfare activity for free.
On July 21st, 2018, the blue medical car of the United Family started from Beijing filled with materials and arrived safely in Xundian after four days on July 24th. 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 the noon of July 25th, foreign experts, Chinese staff and volunteers from the United States, Canada and Israel assembled at Kunming Changshui Airport.
Diagnosis and treatment
At 7:00 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.
DianshaTownship is over 30 kilometers away from Xundian County, but it is closed tothe outside world due to the rugged mountainous roads. Local health centers arenot qualified for treating serious medical cases. Once people get disease, theyhave no other way but travel a long distance to Kunming. Many families havemissed the best time for treatment because of traffic and economic reasons.Therefore, the public welfare activity of the United Family Healthcare andFoundation was warmly welcomed by the local government and the public. Early inthe morning, local rural women aged between 35 and 64 left their homes afterhearing the news and lined up in front of the hospital. At the sight of thisscene, the staff immediately started the work in an orderly manner according tothe plan without any break.
The work arrangement was as follows: publicity education outside the hospital, the 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 in the plateau, the staff would have breathing difficulty and muscle soreness after going up- and downstairs. 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 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.
Duringthe summer vacation, many mothers lined up together with their unattendedchildren, and some even came together with their young babies on their backs.The medical team of the United Family Healthcare deeply felt that the localwomen lacked relevant medical treatment services, so they were extremelyenthusiastic about the two-cancer screenings with great expectations. Despitethe fatigue and the hoarse voice, staff members still stuck to their posts andenthusiastically carried out medical treatment for the people. At noon,everyone took turns to eat a simple lunch and continued to work without takinga break.
Injust two days from July 25th to July 26th, Chinese and foreign experts andlocal medical teams screened a total of 1063 patients in Diansha Township,Xundian County. After using the 1000 labels prepared in advance, they handwrotedozens of labels urgently. Every woman who came was screened. 1063 screenings wasnot just a simple number; it was a miracle that has not been thought of before.Behind this number was the silent support of many partners, and the plan madeby the Foundation staff during numerous sleepless nights before departure. It wasthe result of cooperation between Chinese and foreign experts, local medicalteams and volunteers. Everyone who is in it is proud of this number!
Wedeparted at 7:00 in the morning and returned to the station at 9:00 in the evening.Regardless of the physical and mental exhaustion, staff members held a wrap-upseminar for the next stop. With the rain drizzling outside the window, peoplein the room had reddish eye and hoarse voice, but the atmosphere was unusually friendlyand peaceful.
Tomorrowis another day. For you, we are on the road.
Healing Brings Hope