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HIV and Cervical Cancer: Screening Needs
Screening is crucial to prevent cervical cancer and, if found early, to tackle its development. In October 2019, only 856 of eligible women living with HIV were screened for cervical cancer in the four Mozambican provinces where the Efficiencies for Clinical HIV Outcomes (ECHO) project operates.
In its first year of implementation, ECHO launched an action plan to expand cervical cancer screening among women living with HIV and enroll them into treatment. ECHO quickly expanded access to cervical cancer prevention services by taking a number of steps. The project provided training to more than 286 clinical staff to identify eligible women and reinforce treatment protocols. It referred women from routine checkups or pharmacies and escorted them to get tested. In health facility waiting rooms, ECHO delivered key messages on the importance of cervical cancer prevention and treatment. And the project closely tracked data on patient’s records to identify eligible women for testing.
The project created 32 cryotherapy units in clinics in the four provinces--Manica, Sofala, Niassa, and Tete--to treat women with lesions or abnormal cells to prevent the development of cervical cancer. Additionally, ECHO procured essential equipment–loop electrosurgical excision procedure machines, speculum, cryoprobes, etc.– to ensure adequate diagnosis and treatment.
As a result, by September 2020, just a year later, ECHO had screened 49,387 women. The increased access to cervical cancer prevention services contributes to improved health outcomes for women living with HIV.
In its first year, the Mozambique ECHO project screened more than 49,000 HIV+ women for cervical cancer. 217% of its annual target.