Tanzania Aims for Nation-Wide Cervical Cancer Screening

Every public health centre in Tanzania will start giving initial cervical cancer treatment one year from now in an endeavor to battle the destructive ailment, the government announced few days back.

Plans are also at a propelled stage to initiate immunization and vaccination of young girls in the 9-13 years age range against the sickness from next April.

Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Minister Ummy Mwalimu has approached parents by asking not to delay taking their kids for the vaccination.

She remarked, “We hope that by vaccinating them at this age, we will reduce the cervical cancer cases…and, I will demonstrate this by bringing my own daughter for vaccination.”

She was talking at the receipt of materials for cervical cancer preventive action and supplies, given the support from JHPIEGO International association in association with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Maternal Child Survival Program (MCSP) to enhance the Tanzanian cervical cancer services.

Ms Mwalimu added, “My aim is to have each public health centre providing initial treatment of the cervical cancer by December 2018”, implying that the objective is to screen three million ladies.

There are presently 524 health centres by the government, with just 265 of them offering such services. These centres are at level two, after dispensaries, in grading and reviewing public health facilities.

She believes that it is bad that a woman goes to the clinic for maternal and child healthcare yet neglects to avail the cervical cancer screening facilities and primary treatment.

Speaking about the accomplishment up until now, the minister clarified that the government has scaled up screening and primary treatment administrations. She mentioned, “In the past one year, over 100 new centres were established for screening and provision of initial therapy.”

In every 100 patients arriving at Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), 34 of them experience the ill effects of cervical cancer and 12 suffer from breast cancer, as indicated by statistics.

To minimize deaths she stated that the reason as to why it was decided to emphasize more on cervical and breast cancer is because they account for approximately 50% of overall cancer cases.

Around 80% of patients report at ORCI, with the cancer at an advanced stage, prompting mediocre treatment outcomes and most of them succumbing to it.

Jhpiego Tanzania Country Director Jeremie Zoungrana stated, “So, far we have a low number of cervical cancer screening clinics, so there is need to scale up the screening services and improve the accessibility.”

Additionally, there is a need to keep up the standard of screening services, including data quality, he said. USAID noticed that cancer represents a crucial health danger worldwide and the rates of occurrences have escalated in many nations since 1980’s.

Proof demonstrates that cervical cancer remains a main source of cancer-related horror and mortality among ladies, with around 50% of cervical cancer related losses, around the world.

Culmination of Bill Gates’ Support for Cervical Cancer in Tanzania

Access to screening facilities available at existing family planning clinics grows, as cervical cancer cases develop. Anil Tambay, Maries Stopes Tanzania Country Director expressed in Dar es Salaam to acknowledge the culmination of the cervical cancer screening and preventative therapy programme by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

He commented that such family planning programmes were “natural entry points” for preventive measures as both cervical cancer screening and family planning services require a similar target group. He stated, “Family planning integration is an overwhelmingly positive strategy, but it requires robust supervision and logistics systems”.

However, he admitted operational issues did exist. Examples being fragmented funds, faltered coordination amongst clinics and the requirement for standard regular training and supervision of clinical aid providers. This programme was supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria to regulate cervical cancer screening and preventive treatment through reproductive health systems from November 2012 to October 2017.

Mr. Tambay said that more than 187,263 women were screened in a time of 23 months in the country, among them 7,783 were discovered positive and 7,602 obtained cryotherapy. Maria Stopes Tanzania is executing the Tanzania programme, alongside Population Services International (PSI) and Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI).

The Ministry of Health Assistant Director for Reproductive and Child Health, Dr. Hussein Kidanto specified that cervical cancer was a critical public health issue in Tanzania. He said, “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.”

Dr. Kidanto said that cervical cancer could be prevented essentially by raising public awareness, vaccinating adolescent girls of 9-13 years against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This is the virus that causes cervical cancer. He said currently there were 466 clinics offering cervical cancer screening and treatment services. These incorporate all provincial, regional, district clinics, some health centres, and dispensaries.