San Diego, California–Jhpiego wins 2014 Classy Awards for its innovative screen-and-treat approach to prevent cervical cancer in women in the developing world.
The CLASSY Awards is held annually to recognize social achievement and encourage the brightest minds in the social sector to engage in conversation around social problems and solutions. Jhpiego was chosen from five top contenders in the health category for its cervical cancer screening approach that uses basic vinegar to identify precancerous cells in women who live in some of the poorest places on the planet. More than 200,000 women a year die needlessly from cervical cancer because in part they lack access to a screening test.
Jhpiego, working with stakeholders and partners, pioneered the single visit approach (SVA) in 1995, a unique, medically safe, acceptable and effective approach to cervical cancer prevention for low-resource settings. The SVA consists of visual inspection using vinegar to detect precancerous lesions on the cervix, followed by the offer for treatment using a freezing technique (cryotherapy), in the same visit. The method is so cost effective, that approximately 50 women can be screened using SVA for the cost of one traditional Pap smear.
This program helps countries care for themselves by training a skilled health workforce to use SVA, creating systems for monitoring and evaluation and ensuring supportive supervision for quality assurance.
In Mozambique, 148,000 women have been screened in the past two years and SVA has been integrated into a maternal health package, expanding services from 17 facilities to 89. Cervical cancer prevention using SVA is now one of the four key pillars of the front line model maternity initiative supported by the Ministry of Health in Mozambique. “Its low-cost, ease of use and convenience for women makes SVA an effective alternative to traditional screening and treatment methods for regions with limited resources,” says Dr. Ricky Lu, Jhpiego’s program director for reproductive health.