Project Spotlight: Women's Health Initiative

RGHA's Women’s Health Initiative focuses on both clinical and community-based programs for women in and around the service area of Pampas Grande, Peru. Julie Armistead, a nurse practitioner who joined RGHA in 2010, is the main clinician for the Women’s Health Initiative. During each trip to Pampas Grande, Julie provides her patients with primary gynecological care, including pelvic exams, pregnancy tests, and well-woman visits. Julie and the rest of the Women’s Health Initiative team are working to provide the Pampas Grande clinic’s year-round staff with an improved and sustainable clinical environment for women’s health practice. For instance, the Women’s Health Initiative donated a microscope to the Pampas Grande clinic in 2010. Additionally, each year, the Women’s Health Initiative restocks the Pampas Grande clinic’s pharmacy with common gynecological medicines.

In 2012 with the Women’s Health Survey, the Women’s Health Initiative spearheaded an effort to gather information for future evidence-supported community-based programming. The survey was administered to thirty anonymous female volunteers who visited the clinic to receive services during RGHA’s medical campaign. Questions ascertained demographic, maternal health, reproductive health, and family/home information from survey participants.

Although the survey sample size was too small to yield any significant associations between variables (such as education level and contraception use), the descriptive data provided useful information about the female patient population. For instance, most of the female patients that visit the clinic during RGHA’s medical campaign travel over two hours by foot to receive clinical services. This indicates a need for a transportation system so that patients (particularly those who are pregnant, with children, or in poor health) can travel more easily to and from the health post. 

This year, the Women's Health Initiative is planning to implement a number of small group workshops and trainings for women, teachers, and other interested community members. The trainings will include information and activities regarding sexual and reproductive health, goal planning, and leadership.