Ending Cervical Cancer through a “technological innovation system” approach.
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
There are some risk factors that are known to increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. These risk factors include, HPV (human papillomavirus), having many sexual partners or becoming sexually active early, smoking, a weakened immune system, long-term mental stress, giving birth at a very young age, several pregnancies, long-term use of birth control pills, other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and socio-economic status
According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS)2014, the annual number of cervical cancer cases is 4802 women and out of these 2451 end up as deaths. Cervical cancer is the leading cancer in the country causing the highest number of deaths and this is unfortunate because if screened and detected early, cervical cancer can be treated. In one study it was reported that only 12.3% Kenyan women went for cervical cancer screening and mortality rate is still high. This low turnout is caused by critical obstacles to expanded cervical cancer control and care in Kenya which include cultural myth, meager health services, low perception of risk, fear of abnormal cervical cancer screening results, lack of finance for the services, lack of awareness among others.
Cervical cancer Prevention and screening has just not been available or accessible to most people in Kenya. Most cases are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, which is partly due to inadequate healthcare infrastructure. 78% of Kenyans live in rural areas, hence Matibabu Foundation whose mission is to work with individuals, the community and government to improve overall health goals by providing family centered health information saw the need to work with the Prevent Cancer Foundation in curbing Cervical cancer in Kisumu and Siaya Counties through the prevent cancer project.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation is a leading nonprofit organization solely focused on cancer prevention and early detection based in the U.S. The Prevent Cancer Foundation offers grants in its commitment to ‘stop cancer before it starts’ to provide the resources needed to fund vital community-level cancer awareness and screening activities. The prevent cancer project has recently distributed EVA(Enhanced Visual Assessment) screening devices across selected health facilities in Kisumu and Siaya counties. The EVA system is a low cost, high quality colposcope innovation that moves a procedure currently only provided by experts at the tertiary level to a community-based approach available during routine care visits. Patients are now able to view their cervix from images captured during screenings. This innovation has actually reduced infrastructure with its portability and web based application. Tracking and follow-ups of patients has also been made easier by the EVA systems online portal.
Matibabu Foundation Kenya provides on-job training and supportive supervision to existing health workers across Kisumu and Siaya counties on the need to educate and create awareness of cervical cancer. The health workers also receive training on the proper use of the EVA system thereby adding high quality tools and procedures to the existing reproductive health programs at community-level primary care service delivery points. Women of reproductive age are encouraged to go for screening for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer. Matibabu hospital in Ukwala, Bondo sub county hospital, Lumumba sub county hospital and Migosi health centre are currently offering cervical cancer screening using the EVA devices thanks to the Prevent Cancer Project.