WOMEN'S HEALTH INITIATIVE CERVICAL CANCER PREVENTION
Why this work is important
Cervical cancer is a largely preventable disease, but in many countries it is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in women. The burden from cervical cancer affects the entire family, as a sufferer is unable to attend to her children and other responsibilities. In addition, research shows that children who are orphaned due to cervical cancer are likely to suffer from undernourishment, neglect and higher than average mortality. However, early detection, when a woman is asymptomatic, can save lives.
Our key to success is a partnership model that empowers and trains local healthcare providers in areas where expertise and capacity are suboptimal. We utilize "see and treat" techniques developed by Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics. According to Journal of the American Medical Association and Journal of the National Cancer Institute, it is the most cost-effective (fewest dollars spent per life-year saved) cervical cancer prevention strategy for low resource regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Where We Work
Bolivia has one of the world's highest rates of cervical cancer. More than 2,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, with an estimated 940 attributable deaths per year. It is the deadliest type of cancer in Bolivia. Before launching the program, only 15% of eligible women were screened for cervical cancer, and only half of those screened followed up for the results.
According to WHO, Myanmar has the second worst healthcare system in the world, spending less than US$20 annually per capita on healthcare. Women are often given low priority and find themselves at the back of the line. Every year, approximately 5,286 women in Myanmar are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and an estimated 2,998 will die from the disease. It is the most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age.