A simpler “screen and treat” approach to cervical cancer could make a substantial difference in women’s health in Equatorial Guinea, thanks to support from Noble Energy for a new detection program.
Currently, cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death and disability among women in Equatorial Guinea. To address this issue, a new initiative conducted by Medical Care Development International (MCDI) in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare aims to screen 6,000 women aged 20-60 years and build government capacity for further expansion of the diagnostic and treatment protocol.
If precancerous lesions are detected, they can be immediately treated using cold coagulation. Women with more complex symptoms are referred to gynecology services for specialized follow-up and treatment.
“We expect the screening to provide early detection and treatment,” said Equatorial Guinea Country Manager Thor Pruckl. “On a broader scale, we are educating communities on the importance of early detection and treatment. In addition, we are promoting enhanced knowledge and skills transfer by training the local Ministry of Health and Social Welfare personnel.”
An important component of the initiative is developing effective ways to encourage women to participate in the screenings.
“Community involvement is essential, including training of community health promoters and educators,” said Thor. “The benefits are huge and in many cases live-saving, and we need to tell that story to the women in the community.”
The new initiative complements Noble Energy’s ongoing support of the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) national program focused on reproductive, maternal and child health and HIV, as well as Noble Energy’s support to the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project (BIMCP) and the Equatorial Guinea Malaria Vaccine Initiative (EGMVI) in ensuring effective early community-based screening and long-term treatment of malaria.
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