Posted on :Tuesday , 7th November 2017
Access to screening services available at prevailing family planning clinics increases, as cervical cancer cases grow. Anil Tambay, Maries Stopes Tanzania Country Director stated in Dar es Salaam to mark the conclusion of the cervical cancer screening and preventative therapy project by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
He remarked that such family planning programmes were “natural entry points” for prevention initiatives as both cervical cancer screening and family planning services call for the same target group. He said, “Family planning integration is an overwhelmingly positive strategy, but it requires robust supervision and logistics systems”.
Although, he did admit operational problems were present. Some being disintegrated finances stumbled coordination between clinics and the need for regular training and supervision of clinical aid suppliers. This project was funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria to administer cervical cancer screening and preventive therapy through reproductive health networks from November 2012 to October 2017.
Mr. Tambay said that more than 187,263 women were screened in a period of 23 months in the nation, among them 7,783 were found positive and 7,602 received cryotherapy. Maria Stopes Tanzania is implementing the Tanzania project, along with Population Services International (PSI) and Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI).
Dr. Hussein Kidanto, who is Assistant Director for Reproductive and Child Health section in the Ministry of Health, mentioned that cervical cancer was a crucial public health problem in Tanzania. "Many experts would agree that the high burden of disease and low survival rate among women with cervical cancer in the country is attributed to late disease presentation, diagnosis, and delay in treatment," he said.
Dr. Kidanto said presently there were 466 facilities giving cervical cancer screening and treatment services. These include all regional, district hospitals, some health centers, and dispensaries. Moreover, he said that cervical cancer could be prevented simply by raising public awareness, vaccinating adolescent girls aged 9-13 years against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This is the virus that causes cervical cancer and screening women who are sexually active for cervical at least once every three years.