Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in women in sub-Saharan Africa. Cervical cancer, caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), presents a significant public health threat to women on the African continent. In 2018, 19 of the top 20 countries worldwide with the highest burden of cervical cancer were in Africa. This disease is steadily increasing in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 75,000 new cases and 50,000 deaths yearly, further increased by HIV infection.

There are cost-effective screening tests that are available to detect pre-cancer lesions as well as effective, safe and simple treatment for pre-cancer, thus preventing the development of cancer in these women.

Maternity Africa is grateful to our newest partner, CureCervicalCancer, for traveling from the United States of America to train our staff, and others from nearby Selian Lutheran Hospital and Oltrumet District Hospital.

In summary: the team from CureCervicalCancer trained 15 Community Health Workers on the following topics:

  • Cervical cancer education, including risk factors, signs and symptoms;
  • Cervical cancer prevention;
  • Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) “See & Treat” Method; and
  • Treatment of pre-cancerous lesions.

Practical training sessions took place at Kivulini Maternity Centre, and at a mobile outreach event, screening women near Olchuruvous village in rural Arusha Region. Our team conducted community sensitisation beforehand, encouraging women to come for free cervical cancer screening.

Outcomes:

  • 173 women screened;
  • 3 patients VIA positive and received thermal ablation treatment;
  • 151 women tested VIA negative;
  • 13 patients with screening deemed ‘inadequate’ (unable to locate squamocolumnar junction); and
  • 6 patients referred (pap smear / biopsy).

What happens next for Maternity Africa:

  • Monthly mobile clinics to continue screening and treating cervical cancer; and
  • Monthly reporting and discussions with CureCervicalCancer.

You can help Maternity Africa provide life-saving maternal healthcare and related services by following this link. Thank you!

Find out more about CureCervicalCancer here.

Further information about Cervical Cancer:

https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/cervical-cancerhttps://curecervicalcancer.org/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28440679/#:~:text=Infections%20caused%20by%20high%2Drisk,further%20increased%20by%20HIV%20infection.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41416-020-0831-9

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