Cervical Cancer Screening with a Low-Cost, HPV Test for Rural Communties in Developing Countries

Project Description
We have the tools to prevent and treat cervical cancer, yet a woman dies of this preventable disease every two minutes. That is approximately 270,000 women each year. Nearly 90 percent of these women live in developing countries, many in rural areas similar to the locations our cofffee beans are grown.
While Pap smear screening has been responsible for decreasing cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates in the US and throughout the developed world, effective program implementation has been nearly impossible to achieve in limited-resource settings. A successful Pap smear system requires extensive infrastructure, technical expertise, and patients returning many times for repeat visits. This is very hard to achieve when women live far from a clinic with limited time, money, and transportation.
In response to this challenge, a new test has been developed that has the potential to provide the most accurate screening technology to women living in rural areas around the globe; a test that does not require the complicated infrastructure needed for a successful Pap smear program. The test, called careHPV, was developed specifically for use in low-resouce settings. It doesn’t require running water and is semi-portable.
Basic Health International is working with the Ministry of Health of El Salvador to run the first pilot program using this technology. In fact, 2,000 women living in the Paracentral region of El Salvador were screened with careHPV between September 2012 and March 2013. It was overwhelmingly accepted by the women and their healthcare providers. In addition, HPV testing has the potential to revolutionize screening because women have the option to collect their own sample in the comfort of their own home. This means no more trecking miles to the health unit to see a healthcare provider!
Over the next three years, a total of 30,000 women will receive careHPV screening. During this time, Basic Health International will conduct investigations to answer many important questions regarding its efffectiveness and feasibliity, including the following: “Is it cost-effective?” “Is it possible to intregrate this test into the current cervical cancer prevention program in El Salvador?” “Is it acceptable among patients, their communities, and policy makers?” “Can this test be implemented in other countries?”
The results of this pilot project will be replicated and packaged to strengthen cervical cancer programs in developing countries worldwide. Working with the highest level of rigor in the developing world, our results will be applicable to underserved populations everywhere. This prevention model will serve as a turn-key for countries across the globe.
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Who Benefits from this project?
Over the next three years, 30,000 at-risk Salvadoran women will receive the most accurate cervical cancer testing available. But most importantly, if the program is cost-effective and highly acceptable among women, the Salvadoran government will adopt the program as its own. This will facilitate HPV testing for all at-risk women across the entire country for years to come.
In addition, since this is the first program of its kind, the results will be used as a model for other developing countries looking to implement HPV testing in their own country. This prevention model will help save the lives of our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and daughters around the globe.
To learn more about this program, please check out a documentary that was made for the new show, The Cure, on Al Jazeera English TV.
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How Can I Help?
Please help support this program by visiting our website at www.basichealth.org to learn about what we do, and how to make a donation. Donors like you make change possible.
Please email Lauren at lditzian@basichealth.org with any questions.
We thank you in your generosity in helping us end a preventable disease.
Contact Name:     Lauren Ditzian
Website:     www.basichealth.org
Location:     New York/New York//USA
Email Address:     lditzian@basichealth.org
Phone Number:     212.241.0733

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