Stories behind the Callascope
Dr. Nimmi Ramanujam, Dr. Mercy Asiedu and Julia Aguodogo developed the Callascope, a device that can be used by individuals to take an image of their own cervix without the use of a the traditional duckbill speculum using in pelvic exams.
The Callascope provides women with the opportunity to autonomously and privately explore their inner reproductive anatomy for the first time and through the experience feel empowered in their own body. Preliminary studies focused on understanding and documenting women’s experience with Callascope-enabled self-visualization as an educational tool. Reflections from participants revealed how this process of self-exploration is a powerful tool for de-stigmatizing sexual and reproductive health
Today we are sharing some of the thoughts from the women who were participants in the 2018 Callascope Home Study.
It was also really neat to be able to do my own exam on a part of yourself that you just never see otherwise. I think normally, you know, you are in a medical setting whenever you have the opportunity to see the inner workings of your body, so it was really nice to be able to be in the relaxed setting of my own house to kind of just explore and see what’s going on. It was a really unique view that I had never had before.Beyond that, as far as physical sensations. I think I feel just really interested and curious. It is strange to think that that is a part of myself, since that is something that I have never seen outside of this setting. It makes me just feel curious to learn more.
I have friends who really hate having to get a pap smear and find that really uncomfortable and emotionally upsetting. So I think for people like that, this would be a really great option to have available.
I think it’s a good opportunity for women to learn about themselves and to have the option to do that self-exam at home rather than go to the OBGYN.
I gained an appreciation for gynecologists, or anyone who does have to try to perform any kind of examination of female reproductive anatomy including cervix and looking for cancerous lesions or any kind of disease of abnormality.
I think when I think of female reproductive anatomy I think of that it’s enigmatic, that it’s hidden from us physically. We don’t have a lot of external genitalia, but it’s also kind of hidden in the way that we don’t talk much about vaginas and uteruses and cervices. So this was an eye-opening experience to be able to visualize something that is so intrinsically a part of me that I have never seen in this way before.
Learn more about the Callascope at Calla Health Foundation.
Read about the Callascope study at Greater Accra Regional Hospital (GARH) in Accra, Ghana