One of the key objectives of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Program is the mobilization of the community on cancer prevention through the innovative “Sister-Link-Sister” model in resource-constrained locations. The Sister-Link-Sister model relies on a voluntary information and knowledge building platform in which Level One volunteers in cervical cancer screening and prevention education are trained and then disseminate this information to Level Two volunteers and so forth.
I had the great pleasure of accompanying Lisa Zhou, Project HOPE's Program Manager in Shanghai, and Niki Zhang, Program Officer to a Sister-Link-Sister session on Wednesday, 31 July 2013. The educational session was hosted in a meeting room in the East Nanjing Road sub-district office of the Huangpu district. For a number of these sessions, Project HOPE leverages the strong partnership and collaboration it has with the Shanghai Women’s Federation, which is a local chapter of the All China Women's Federation, the largest women's organization in Shanghai.
Niki delivered a one-hour training program in Mandarin to a captive audience of approximately 100 women from the local community. The group was a mix of women from different age groups, but they were predominantly middle-aged. A number of materials developed by Project HOPE such as a cervical cancer prevention booklet and hand-held fan (with information about the disease on it) were distributed to the women at the meeting.
Project HOPE is able to assess the impact of these Sister-Link-Sister educational sessions through a base case survey and post-training survey which assesses the change in knowledge level among the women. Project HOPE also has monitoring in place about “spreading the word” to other women.
I had an important role in assisting with the registration of participants (it gave me an opportunity to practice some very basic words in Mandarin). I had to resort to creative ways to obtain signatures from the participants. To an observer, I may have looked like I was practicing a new hand dance movement.
Lisa, Niki and I left with smiles on our faces, knowing that we were yet another step closer to improving the awareness and education of the community on cervical cancer prevention.
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