MPH Panama Practicum 2013: Clinic Group: Day 4

Sharon Ravanzo

July 10, 2013

Our group’s focus is conducting research in the clinic of 24 de diciembre regarding women’s knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of and towards cervical cancer and today more specifically the pap smear test. In total, we interviewed 22 women, and the overwhelming preliminary conjecture is that women in this community do not know much, if anything, about cervical cancer or its relation to the pap smear exam. They also seem to be unaware of the appropriate length of time between exams.

What’s more is that we learned that most women do not receive a high level of education, and from a health professional, Lourdes Alguera, typically low levels of education are related to having more children. To me, this is very pertinent information as there is no formal sexual health education in the school system to begin with, and even if there were, women are dropping out of school before they are at an age where they can cognitively process the health topics. I feel passionate about the importance of the work being done at the clinic and the intent behind it to reduce cervical cancer rates, however I think that to truly be effective, health professionals need to target younger women before they become sexually active to help them best protect themselves and increase prevention.

I really enjoyed today and the experiences I have had thus far in Panama and look forward to more.

The view on our drive everyday 🙂

About the MPH Panama Practicum

A group of University of Southern California graduate students are researching public health in Panama City, Panama, for a two-week international practicum, organized by the USC Master of Public Health (MPH) program. This post was excerpted from panama.usc.eduView all posts in this series »