Integrating Screening of Cervical Cancer and HIV
Currently, the National Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme offers three cervical cytology smears per lifetime, starting after the age of 30 at 10-year intervals. A tailored approach to cervical screening and treatment in HIV-infected women, who have far higher rates of cervical pre-neoplasia, is warranted and requires the establishment of achievable guidelines. Integrating screening into the overall HIV care package also needs to be evaluated.
HPV Vaccination for Rural Schools:
The Integrated School Health Programme, which was launched by His Excellency the President in 2012, is used by the Department of Health to vaccinate girls in Grade 4 who over 9 years old. Round One of the program was carried out in 2016 and over 2,000 vaccinators were sent to about 16,500 schools across the country and vaccinated just under 420,000 girls in Grade 4.
The Foundation joined this vaccination campaign in Round 2 which started on August 1 2016 until September 6, 2016. Our main aim in this campaign is to ensure that as many young girls as possible in rural areas receive HPV vaccinations and are educated about cervical cancer.
Pap Smears for Rural Women:
It is well known that cervical cytology (Papanicolaou Smears) can predict the presence of pre-malignant or malignant lesions of the cervix. The Foundation will launch a pilot initiative for rural women to have pap smears done. This pilot initiative will be in collaboration with the Phelophepa Health Train – which serves as a mobile clinic reaching remote rural areas and also provides health education. The Foundation’s role is to provide access to screening services, treatment of minor disease and diabetes for rural women.
Upscaling of Resources
Various shortcomings have impacted negatively upon the provision of treatment and diagnosis to cancer patients. Issues such as poor levels of training for nursing staff, insufficient, old and outdated equipment and the absence of laboratory facilities make it particularly difficult to provide patients with the treatment and screening services they need, especially in rural areas.
The Foundation thus aims at addressing these issues by securing funding to:
- Enhance the skills of nurses with core training
- Providing basic equipment and infrastructure for rural clinics