Virtual Papaya Workshops

Papaya workshops demonstrate the simplicity, safety, and speed of manual vacuum aspiration for early abortion and miscarriage management, using fruit as uterine models. 

To support procedural abortion training, particularly during a time of increased state restrictions and the COVID pandemic, RHEDI developed a model for virtual papaya workshops. These workshops can be held over Zoom, GoToMeeting, or other videoconferencing applications, and offer participants a hands-on experience with procedural abortion care, using papayas, tomatoes, dragonfruit, or other fruit as uterine models.

To host your own virtual papaya workshop we recommend the following resources:

  • An MVA (Manual Vacuum Aspiration) kit for each of your workshop participants. These include an aspirator; a cannula (9mm or greater diameter preferred to handle papaya seeds); and 2 dilators (maximum size smaller than the cannula to ensure proper suction). If you don’t have the ability to borrow these implements from your institution, both IPAS and HPSRX offers a line of products for purchase.
  • An introductory video or live roleplay, to model patient-centered abortion care during the procedure. You are welcome to use RHEDI’s Virtual Papaya Workshop video, which covers counseling, MVA procedure tools, and the steps of the procedure. (Although we have made this video freely accessible, we do hope that you will subscribe to our newsletter and consider donating to RHEDI’s work.)
  • Papayas or tomatoes to use as uterine models. Hawaiian papayas work best and can be acquired here, although larger papayas and a variety of tomatoes and dragonfruit can also work. Participants can acquire their own produce or it can be shipped to them, provided fruit has been refrigerated prior to shipment.
  • Instruction sheets for participants and facilitators.

Suggested Steps

  • Have potential participants respond to Google or other survey, to determine schedule, mailing address, and ability to receive/return MVA and/or papaya packages.

  • Ship MVA kits to registered participants, with prepaid label for return (and shipment to other participants, if hosting multiple workshops).

  • If including papayas, time shipments to allow for ripening in transit. Double-bag fruit to preserve box and labels.
  • Possible Workshop Agenda:

    1. Host meeting for registered participants via video-conferencing application; introduce with explanation of how papaya workshops can model and destigmatize abortion care, as well as demonstrate its simplicity and safety.

    2. Ask participants to share background with abortion care and sexual/reproductive health care.

    3. Present video or live role-play.

    4. Move participants to smaller breakout rooms with facilitators.

    5. Facilitators demonstrate MVA procedure with their own papayas, then guide participants through each step.

    6. Facilitators answer questions from their break-out groups.