Working TogetHER to End Cervical Cancer
At the World Health Assembly in 2018, World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for global elimination of cervical cancer. In response, PCI joined the global movement to end cervical cancer and support the delivery of women’s health interventions around the globe.
PCI is a proud member of the TogetHER for Health network, a global partnership focused on cervical cancer prevention, along with other organizations like Population Services International, Jhpiego, PATH, FHI 360, and the American Cancer Society. This partnership is identifying key issues and leveraging global connections to implement and scale programs in high-risk areas while fostering the development of innovative cervical cancer prevention interventions and programs.
The TogetHER initiative advocates for funding and action or cervical cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention programs, including:
- Increased access to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (the virus that causes cervical cancer) for young women
- Building global awareness regarding the importance of early cervical cancer screening
- Integration of cervical cancer screenings into women’s health programs, including family planning or HIV care and treatment programs
- Treating precancerous lesions and referring women with more advanced lesions to specialized care
Working with TogetHER and other partners, PCI is raising cervical cancer awareness and advocating for the resources required to effectively fight this disease along with increased political commitment.
Combating Cervical Cancer in Zambia
Zambia has one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world, along with the fourth-highest rate of cervical cancer. As a PEPFAR Zambia partner, PCI works with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Zambian Defense Force Medical Services to provide cervical cancer screening and treatment services to women living with HIV.
Because women living with HIV are particularly vulnerable to cervical cancer due to a compromised immune system, PCI has prioritized the integration of cervical cancer “screen-and-treat” services into routine HIV treatment in Zambia.
Building on the earlier success of its Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon program, PCI added static clinics to its innovative mobile cervical cancer-HIV clinic intervention. PCI offers cervical cancer screening through visual inspection and treatment of precancerous cervical lesions at communities in and around Zambian Defense Force bases throughout the country.
Together, the static and mobile clinics have helped PCI reach approximately 25,000 women with life-saving cervical cancer screening and pre-invasive lesions treatment. Of these women, 93% either received immediate cryotherapy, thermal ablation treatment or were successfully referred to facilities for LEEP services and histopathology evaluations.
In June 2018, PCI with local partner BlueCode, launched a national electronic cervical cancer information management system—SmartCerv—to enable standardized national reporting and management of cervical cancer data.