Developing Sustainable Cervical Cancer Screening in Mwanza, Tanzania: Implementation of a Screen-and-Treat Model [33A]

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the development of a one-week screening campaign and efforts towards the implementation of a sustainable system that addresses cervical cancer in Mwanza, Tanzania with a screen-and-treat model utilizing visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (VIA) and cryotherapy.

METHODS:

In partnership with CureCervicalCancer (CCC), a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, California, 11 medical students at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine established a model for sustainable HPV screening practices in Mwanza, Tanzania. This study both quantitatively and qualitatively assesses the successes and limitations of the program model.

RESULTS:

During the 5-day training, a total of 614 women attended the screenings and 556 women were screened with VIA, of which 10.6% (n=59) were VIA positive and 89.4% (n=499) were VIA negative. Of those who for VIA positive, 83.1% (n=49) received cryotherapy while 16.9% (n=10) did not due to suspicions for advanced cancer (n=7), refusal to receive cryotherapy (n=2), or pregnancy (n=1).

CONCLUSION:

The screen-and-treat model for the identification and treatment of pre-cancerous cervical lesions is an effective public health intervention with potential to impact women by both providing the tools and education needed by local healthcare professionals. However, limitations common to resource-poor settings such as continuity of funding, loss to follow-up, and transportation costs, remain barriers to sustainability.

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