Kenya: New Visual Test Screens for Cervical Cancer
October 6, 2009
In a bid to combat the increasing number of cervical cancer cases, government hospitals in Kenya are encouraging women to undergo an innovative free exam to detect precancerous lesions of the cervix.
While not all hospitals have cryo-therapy equipment for lesion removal, most provincial hospitals do. Discussions are underway with donors to purchase materials for countrywide distribution, said Dr. Jacton Omotto of Siaya District Hospital.
"Studies have proven the visual inspection method is as efficient as Pap testing in identifying cervical cancer precursors. However, Pap requires much more sophisticated equipment, training and logistics. The visual inspection method can be done by any trained medic," said Omotto.
"In the past, when we suspected cervical cancer we would refer the patient to a higher-level facility for testing and treatment," Omotto noted. "However, due to poverty many would not travel to Nairobi where Kenyatta National Hospital is located. Instead they would stay home and would be brought back in critical condition."
Cervical cancer is one of the leading killers of Kenyan women. According to Omotto, young women and HIV-positive women are increasingly being diagnosed with the disease. Vaccines that protect against strains of human papillomavirus linked to the majority of cervical cancers are prohibitively expensive in Kenya.
Inter Press Service
10.01.2009; Susan Anyangu