Providing leadership in reproductive health, Jhpiego worked with stakeholders and partners to pioneer the single visit approach (SVA) for cervical cancer prevention. The SVA consists of visual inspection using dilute acetic acid (the main component of vinegar) to detect pre-cancerous lesions on the cervix, followed by the offer for treatment using a freezing technique (cryotherapy), all in one visit. This practical, clinically safe and cost-effective approach to cervical cancer prevention in low-resource settings helps save women’s lives worldwide by reducing overall cost of detection and treatment, including turning what would normally require four or five clinic visits to just one. As such, SVA offers screening and treatment in one package of services that can be provided easily at local health facilities by nurses and midwives—the mid-level providers on the frontlines of care. For these reasons, SVA has become the gold standard cervical screening approach in much of the developing world, supported by both the World Health Organization and UNFPA.
The detection of pre-cancerous cervical lesions using acetic acid was pioneered by Doctors Paul Blumenthal and Harshad Sanghvi and other colleagues at Jhpiego. Starting in 1999, Jhpiego collaborated with multiple studies that confirmed the safety and effectiveness of SVA, which contributed to the Government of Thailand adopting SVA as a national program. Thailand now leads the developing world in cervical cancer prevention, with more than 600,000 Thai women screened using this low-cost approach. As of 2011, more than 20 countries are implementing visual inspection using dilute acetic acid for screening, according to the Cervical Cancer Awareness Report Card.
Jhpiego’s commitment to preventing cervical cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in low-resource settings extends into the world of HIV/AIDS. Jhpiego is proud of playing a pivotal role convincing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2008 to formally fund cervical cancer prevention, as it represents one of the most dangerous opportunistic infections to women living with HIV/AIDS.
Jhpiego now works in cervical cancer prevention across 12 countries and has joined forces with the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative—a partnership of the George W. Bush Institute, PEPFAR