There is a shortage of trained health care personnel for cervical cancer screening in low-/middle-income countries. We evaluated the feasibility and limited efficacy of a smartphone-based training of community health nurses in visual inspection of the cervix under acetic acid (VIA).Materials and Methods
During April to July 2015 in urban Ghana, we designed and developed a study to determine the feasibility and efficacy of an mHealth-supported training of community health nurses (CHNs, n = 15) to perform VIA and to use smartphone images to obtain expert feedback on their diagnoses within 24 hours and to improve VIA skills retention. The CHNs completed a 2-week on-site introductory training in VIA performance and interpretation, followed by an ongoing 3-month text messaging–supported VIA training by an expert VIA reviewer.Results
Community health nurses screened 169 women at their respective community health centers while receiving real-time feedback from the reviewer. The total agreement rate between all VIA diagnoses made by all CHNs and the expert reviewer was 95%. The mean (SD) rate of agreement between each CHN and the expert reviewer was 89.6% (12.8%). The agreement rates for positive and negative cases were 61.5% and 98.0%, respectively. Cohen κ statistic was 0.67 (95% CI = 0.45–0.88). Around 7.7% of women tested VIA positive and received cryotherapy or further services.Conclusions
Our findings demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of mHealth-supported VIA training of CHNs and have the potential to improve cervical cancer screening coverage in Ghana.