This project, a collaboration between the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine, the UIC School of Public Health, the District of Saraya, Senegal, and Peace Corps Senegal, utilized the Global Community Health Collaborative (GCHC) model was intended to positively impact global health disparities by specifically addressing the global burden of disease, the global shortage of health care workers, the deficiency of primary health care in low-income countries, and the deficiency of global health research.
Through this novel approach with a Peace Corps Senegal partnership, this Peace Care project fostered collaboration between the health district of Saraya, Senegal and UIC to improve health care delivery within the local existing health care system as well as provided training in global health and cultural competency for U.S. health care trainees. The Health District of Saraya is located in the extreme South-Eastern part of Senegal with an estimated population of 42,000 inhabitants and comprises seven health posts and one health center. Access to quality health care in the district of Saraya is difficult to obtain, primarily due to the geographically dispersed area and the small number of highly trained individuals. In training additional health care workers and improving the knowledge base of existing health care workers, individuals in remote villages will have increased access to quality medical care. The focus of this pilot project was cervical cancer screening and prevention, prevention of sexually transmitted illnesses, and diarrhea prevention, as determined by the assessment of local health concerns and the status of the health service delivery infrastructure. The curriculum carried out on site is based on World Health Organization resources and is evidence based.
A team from the UIC Department of Family Medicine accompanied by students and representative faculty from the UIC School of Public Health as well as the OB/Gyn Department traveled in early 2011 during the intervention phase. This project was led by Andrew Dykens, MD, MPH, the founder of Peace Care (www.peacecare.org) and director of the UIC Family Medicine Global Community Health Track, and is in collaboration with Peace Corps Senegal, Country Director, Chris Hedrick, as well as the Saraya District Director of Health Services, Dr. Youssoupha N’diaye.
Through this collaborative, in addition to small scale interventions addressing diarrhea and STI’s, we trained five new trainers in the technique of visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid. These trainers, in turn, trained 14 additional personnel as a secondary training. The District level medical director, Dr. N’diaye, as a strategy for scaling the project, had all clinicians within the Saraya District trained by May, 2011 and has expanded the training to cover the entire Kedougou region. Dr. N’diaye has expressed a desire to illustrate this model as a successful means by which to initiate cervical cancer screening throughout rural Senegal, where none previously existed. Peace Care and UIC hopes to continue to support these trainings. Concerning next steps, UIC has also begun initial discussions with the Saraya Health District of bringing a training course in cryotherapy as a management option for positive cervical cancer screens. This would reinforce the local health system’s ability to manage positive results without displacing patients.