Local group gets $730k to fight cervical cancer in Haiti

December 21, 2012
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Dec. 20, 2012 @ 06:03 PM

From staff reports-The Herald Sun

DURHAM —

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, a nonprofit created after the January 2010 earthquake to strengthen Haiti’s economy by former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has awarded Durham-based Family Health Ministries a grant of $730,000.

Family Health Ministries will use the funds to bring HPV screening as a clinical test to Haiti for the first time, the organization said in a press release Thursday. With the approval of the Haitian Ministry of Health and Dr. Ronald Cornely, director of the cancer division, Haiti will become one of the first countries in the world to offer HPV screening as the initial screen for cervical dysplasia.

Family Health Ministries (FHM) was formed in 2000 by a Duke ob/gyn and a pediatric nurse practitioner.

It screens and treats 500 Haitian women a month, as part of a clinical trial in partnership with QIAGEN, a world leader in HPV screening. To serve an additional 10,000 women in the next 18 months, Family Health Ministries will work with a Haitian partner, the Fondation pour la Santé Reproductrice et l’Education Familiale (Reproductive Health and Family Education Foundation) or FOSREF.

“This is a huge accomplishment for our small organization, and an exciting, collaborative project

for our Haitian partners,” Kathy Walmer, executive director of Family Health Ministries, said in the news release.

“We’ll be working closely with Dr. Fritz Moise, executive director of FOSREF in Port-au-Prince.

His organization brings a local talent experience.”

Together the two organizations plan to hire 30 additional Haitian health care workers at five new sites. Haitian technicians will be trained to use QIAGEN’s technology.

FOSREF, founded in the late 1980s to fight HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, has 26

clinic locations across Haiti.

“Receiving this grant is the fulfillment of a dream started back in 1993,” Dr. David Walmer, board chairman and founder of Family Health Ministries, said in the release.

“When I began working many years ago with Dr. Claude Fertillien, a Haitian ob/gyn, he asked for help in fighting cervical cancer. He knew about the problem and how to tackle it, but did not

have the resources he needed.”

Since 2002, when they began screening full-time, FHM has cared for more than 12,000 women.

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