Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Malawi, accounting for an estimated 40% of cancer incidences amongst women14. This equates to an estimated 5,1 million women (aged 15 and older) who are at risk of developing cervical cancer in Malawi. However, only 2,6% of women aged 25-64 are screened for cervical cancer, while 4,163 new cases diagnosed annually15.
Interventions geared towards early detection and treatment are key in the fight against cervical cancer. NCA partnered with the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) and the Community of St Egidio (DREAM) to address hindrances to early diagnosis and treatment of cervical in underserved communities in Malawi. Eight health facilities in Phalombe, Balaka and Mangochi Districts were targeted.
NCA and partners worked to increase access to cervical cancer screening and treatment through training of 85 health professions, awareness raising and mass screening campaigns. In addition, expert clients16 were used to help destigmatise cervical cancer screening and diagnosis. As a result, 27,686 (5,000 target) women have been screened for cervical cancer between 2016 and 2018 and over 35,000 women have been reached with targeted interventions such as early screening and diagnostics, as well as treatment of cases at an early stage and case referral.
With the achievements in the provision of cervical cancer interventions, NCA, DREAM and CHAM were elected into the national task force for the HPV vaccine rollout and have so far supported in the training of subcommittees of the taskforce by reviewing and rolling out the vaccine. The next phase of the HPV vaccine will be rolled out and NCA has taken a supervisory role of service delivery points in its target districts. This will provide NCA with a good platform to interact with relevant national stakeholders and to be a national key player in the prevention of cervical cancer.