Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death for women in the developing world. According to the World Health Organization, mortality rates from cervical cancer have dropped in much of the developed world due to screening and treatment programs, but rates in developing countries have risen or remain unchanged due to limited access to screening and early diagnosis of this highly preventable and treatable disease if diagnosed early on.
MCDI is working in Myanmar and Equatorial Guinea to increase access to screening and treatment programs by building the capacity of local health care providers to provide these services.
"Screen and Treat" approach
MCDI uses a one-visit "screen-and-treat" approach for our cervical cancer programs. This is the key to the 70% or higher reduction rate in industrialized nations, and is critical to reducing the burden of cervical cancer in low resource countries.
Visual Inspection of the cervix using acetic acid (VIA) allows for reliable detection of most precancerous lesions. For VIA-positive cases, Cold Coagulation therapy is used at an early stage prevents the progression of cancerous lesions. Cold Coagulation therapy is an innovative treatment, and MCDI is one of the first few international NGOs implementing this procedure in developing nations. This procedure is relatively cheap, requires minimal training and has very few, minor side effects for patients. Patients that are detected to have lesions are referred to specialized gynecological services for follow-up and treatment.
Using mobile phones
MCDI also uses mobile phones in the screening and treatment process. Enhanced Visual Assessment through MobileODT gives the provider a more powerful visual examination in which the patient’s data can be recorded and the image of the cervix after VIA can be captured for record keeping, onsite training and quality control.
Mass screenings and screening corners
In Myanmar, MCDI is conducting mass screening and treatment for women aged 30 to 49 years old. Since MCDI began working in Myanmar in 2016, over 1,800 women have been screened.
MCDI is working in Equatorial Guinea to reduce the country's high prevalence rate of cervical cancer by using the "screen-and-treat" approach at Cervical Cancer Screening Corners at hospitals in Malabo and Bata.
Training health workers
MCDI is committed to expanding access to screenings by training health workers in the "screen-and-treat" approach. In Myanmar, MCDI has conducted multiple short courses that have trained over 60 health care providers in under a year. MCDI trains health workers in Equatorial Guinea to implement screenings and cold coagulation treatments at hospitals across the country.