Go Doc Go, a new partner in women’s health
Mar 23, 2016
Because AFLK is a small organization, we continually think about how we can have an impact that’s greater than our size. While we can’t devote ourselves to all of the women’s health projects in Senegal that we hope to, we can find partners who have the specialists and resources to begin addressing some of them. In January 2015, thanks to Josef and Anni Albers Foundation Board Member Emma Lewis, we met Dr. Maggie Carpenter, the founder of Go Doc Go, a United States-based non-profit that “sends volunteer physicians around the world to establish sustainable women’s health programs.”
“I wanted to create a NGO that would allow interested providers from the United States to travel abroad and volunteer their services,” Dr. Carpenter said. “Most opportunities for doctors are either religious in nature or require a career commitment,” she added. Since founding Go Doc Go in 2012, Dr. Carpenter and a team of volunteer physicians have made multiple trips to Ethiopia, where they’ve taught healthcare providers to conduct cervical cancer screenings and treatments, and donated related medical equipment to a university hospital.
After learning about Go Doc Go’s work, we immediately thought it could have a positive impact in Senegal. Dr. Juliette Faye, who heads AFLK’s women’s health center in Dakar, agreed, explaining that cervical cancer screenings — and the knowledge and equipment to treat cervical cancer — were lacking throughout the country.
Shortly thereafter, we put Dr. Faye in touch with Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Amy Gueye, a volunteer physician with Go Doc Go, and they began working on a program. Dr. Gueye, who has Senegalese heritage and completed part of her medical studies in Senegal, also enlisted the help of her mentor in Dakar, oncologist Dr. Kasse. Together, this formidable team undertook almost a year’s worth of planning, from translating some presentations into French to recruiting doctors and patients for the trainings.
Finally, in February 2016, the team was ready. Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Gueye joined AFLK in Dakar and Tambacounda to conduct trainings in cervical cancer detection and treatment. Between the two cities, the doctors trained over 40 providers — physicians, nurses and midwives — and screened almost 300 women. Go Doc Go also provided Tambacounda Hospital with cryotherapy and LEEP equipment, so that the doctors who undertook the training on that equipment can now use it, both for treating cervical lesions, and for training other providers.
“The providers were extremely knowledgeable and hardworking,” Dr. Carpenter said, noting that the challenges doctors face most of all in Senegal are a lack of medication and supplies.
That is why AFLK offers grants for medication and supplies; to alleviate some of the burden on doctors, so that they can best treat those who need medical care. Thanks to an AFLK donation, Dr. Faye received equipment for the women’s center with which she can treat cervical cancer. Thanks to Go Doc Go, she is now trained to use it.
“I hope we can make these trainings an annual event, not only in Dakar, but throughout Senegal,” Dr. Faye said, speaking on behalf of all the doctors and patients who were trained or screened.
We hope so too, and are looking forward to future collaboration with Go Doc Go, as there is still so much work to be done, and so much desire for it. As Dr. Gueye said, “Senegalese women are thriving for health, and are open to new solutions.”
We send an enormous thanks to Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Gueye, for their work on behalf of the doctors, and women, of Senegal.