Dr. Geneviève Bourdy from IRD spent one month in Lima, Peru, to set up a questionnaire to understand the stories and behaviour of people seeking treatment for liver cancer in INEN. She describes her experiences below.
Coming back to Peru was like meeting an old friend again, as I lived here for 3 years before. However, I had never worked in or visited INEN (Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplásicas) and, other than Dr. Ruiz I had never met other members of the team forming part of the Coclican project. So, it was a great pleasure to be introduced to Dr Sandro Casavilca, Dr Eloy Ruiz, Macarena Farías, Ramiro Fernandez and their colleagues, and to know all the members of the Cancer Biobank which is right at the heart of INEN, and I was greeted with their warm welcome.
The main objective of this secondment was to set up a questionnaire aiming to record the therapeutic itinerary of patients suffering from liver cancer visiting INEN, in order to highlight the obstacles to quick, correct diagnosis and care. Working in close collaboration with the team, Claudia Monge was in charge of administering the questionnaire to the patients. After pre-testing and many corrections, a final questionnaire was installed on tablets and smart phone using KoBo collect software, and is now running in its final form. It is not so easy to interview people who are waiting for their turn to be attended by the doctor, in the INEN waiting hall, a big noisy crowded space. Despite the distress that can be felt or openly expressed by some patients, most of the time, people agreed to answer to our questions, and many times, expressed their thanks for our interest, which of course gave a profound sense to this research.
During my free time, I was inspired by the bright colours and original artwork found in the steets of Lima, and the hospitality of old and new friends.