DB Peru

Women’s Health

Gender-based Violence Project

Our goal is to prevent violence to women and girls that they may live in safely in their communities.

The Gender-Based Violence Prevention in the Amazon of Peru (GAP) project began in November 2017 in meetings with 80 leaders from 18 communities in the lower Napo River. With a $150,000 grant from the World Bank, DB Peru and the University College of London have embarked on supporting local health workers with training and materials for them to work with their communities to develop solutions for prevention of this crippling problem for women and families. The research methodology being used is participative research using health workers as leaders of change.

The intensive training is giving the health workers the tools and knowledge they need to be leaders for their villages. Dr. Geordan Shannon conducted sessions in January and March 2018 for 8 specially-chosen health workers who are making a commitment to the program. They have been given teaching materials, cellular phones, boots, shirts and name tags to get started.

The DB Peru group accompanied each of the health workers to their own communities to observe the training and show support to the community and the project.

The reception from the communities has been extremely positive, indicating that the people are ready to address a very complicated and debilitating problem.

In July the health workers invited law enforcement and social services from the local municipality to their workshops to learn more about the law and services available when there are cases of abuse. Each of the 8 communities is addressing the issue in their own way. Dr. Shannon has captured the emergent themes from that work.

Emergent themes from July 2018 fieldwork:

Symbolic Power

Authority

Power through Knowledge

Critical Mass

Community mentality

Literacy

Heart-centered

Space to Develop

Openness

Being an Example

Change Starts With You

Respect

Multi-focus

Family

Local Language

Not Just Prevention

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Women’s Health

Our goal is to reduce the morbidity and mortality of women due to cervical cancer, and to educate all women about their bodies and conditions specific to women’s health.

Peru has some of the highest incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer in the world. Remote Amazonian women are dying from cervical cancer too young, without adequate screening or diagnosis, placing enormous burdens on their families, communities and the healthcare system.

In response to the concerns about cervical cancer, we began our Women’s Project in 2011 providing education about women’s health and screening for cervical and breast cancer to any woman who wished the exam. Included was sex-education for teens, seminars on aging and family planning.  Educational sessions were open to men and women alike.  Pap smears were collected and processed by the government laboratory in Iquitos.

The project evolved into a formal program called The Amazon Community Based Participation Cervical Cancer Screen-and-Treat (ABCS) Program which provides resources to deliver an innovative cervical cancer screen-and-treat program. The project involves education and investment in the training of local service providers as well as collaboration with local health services.

The project itself has 3 major elements:

01Formal research with data collection about demographics, general health and women’s health

02Education with materials specifically developed for the women of the Amazon region

03Screening for the human papilloma virus (HPV) and clinical intervention with cryotherapy in the villages, as well as HPV vaccinations for young girls.

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Dining for Women

DB Peru was awarded a grant of $42,000 from the NGO Dining for Women (DFW) to help fund the ABCS program 2015-2017.

President Diana Bowie was guest speaker at the National Conference of Dining for Women, Knowledge is Power, in Washington DC May 4-5, 2018. The topic was The Delivery of Services at the Last Mile; Challenges and Opportunities.

The mission of Dining for Women is to inspire, educate and engage people to invest in grassroots programs that make a meaningful difference for women and girls living in extreme poverty in developing countries “Changing the World One Dinner at a Time”.

The YouTube videos shared for the Dining for Women grant are the following:

DB Peru Program Interview

A conversation with DB Peru

Midwife Classes

Our goal is to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.

DB Peru organizes 2-day classes for midwives (parteras in Spanish). Our focus is on safe deliveries as well as prenatal and post-delivery care, including care of the newborn.

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The learning curriculum is based on guidelines from the Minister of Health in Peru. Classes are taught by local doctors and nurse-midwives (obstetrices) from clinics and hospitals, and are often joined by visiting foreign doctors. At the end of each class, those who complete the program receive a certificate and a delivery kit – a basin filled gloves, scissors, umbilical clamps, suction bulb, soap, pads, measuring tape and other necessary supplies to be used during childbirth.

Each midwife is given the book The Book for Midwives, or El Libro para Parteras, published by the Hesperian Foundation.

During the classes, experienced midwives from the jungle – many with more than 25 years of experience – share their knowledge of local care. One of the advantages of the classes is the networking of the midwives from the different villages, encouraging the newer ones to call on the more experienced midwives as resources.

Classes include resuscitation of newborns with practice on a model.  Advanced midwives receive medications to be used to stop post-partum hemorrhage and the use of an ambu bag to help babies breath.

The number one hazard identified by the midwives in our area is the first-time mother who does not understand about delivery and does not cooperate, which can cause problems during the birth.

A teaching module was developed by Lauren Oberle to train midwives to teach the first-time mothers about the delivery process – what to expect and how to assist when they are in labor.

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