Glens Falls Medical Mission Foundation.

Zonta and the Glens Falls Medical Mission Aid Guatemalan Women

Each year since March, 2009 the Zonta Club of Glens Falls, whose motto is “Advancing the Status of Women”, has made a generous donation of $500 to the Glens Falls Medical Mission in order to promote cervical cancer screening in Guatemala. Since 1996, the Glens Falls Medical Mission has made twice yearly trips to Nueva Santa Rosa, Guatemala to provide medical care to the population of this small town. “One of the tragedies which is regularly seen is that there are so many preventable diseases which go untreated due to lack of resources.” says mission volunteer Nancy Murtha.

Five years ago, a Guatemalan Non Governmental Organization known as el Liga Contra el Cancer (the League Against Cancer) started working with the mission to do pap smears on Guatemalan women in the mission’s clinic. The vast majority of these women had never had a pap smear done in their lives. “We will never forget seeing a woman, dying of cervical cancer, who came to our clinic a few years ago. She had six children, and her cancer was so advanced that even though she was sent to the Cancer center in Guatemala City, there was nothing that could be done for her” said mission volunteer Dr. Kathy Braico. “If she had received early detection and timely treatment, her children would not be motherless today.”

The Liga Contra el Cancer does the pap smears on the women, arranges for the slides to be read, and follows up on the women to let them know the results. For those with abnormal smears, the Mission’s Director of Field Operations in Guatemala, Glenda Leon, arranges for treatment by Guatemalan doctors who have agreed to help the mission’s patients. Each pap smear costs a mere $1.75. The mission covers these costs for the clinic patients through the assistance of Zonta’s generous donations. This donation also allows the mission to provide the costs of the follow-up transportation and treatment for those women with abnormal smears. “Cancer screening is lifesaving.” says Nancy Murtha. “In the US, deaths from cervical cancer are very rare because the disease is identified and treated in its early stages. Now we can offer that same early detection to the women we serve in Nueva Santa Rosa. Since this program started, hundreds of women have been screened and treated. We are indebted to Zonta for their generous donation and their continuing concern for the women we serve.”

 Zonta’s web site is www.ZontaDistrict2.org/GlensFalls.

 

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