AsianScientist (May 18, 2011) – Doctors from PATH, an international nonprofit organization, and the Ministry of Health’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Department have found that widespread use of a “screen and treat” model was an essential part of a successful cervical cancer prevention strategy in Vietnam.
A collaboration that began in 2009, PATH and MCH focused their cervical cancer screening and early treatment service delivery model in Thanh Hoa, Hue, and Can Tho provinces. The model is comprised of screening, followed by appropriate treatments or referrals for more advanced treatment by health workers who are trained in treatment, detection, and counseling.
More than 38,000 women aged 30 to 49 years have been screened in the three provinces. Of the total number of women screened, more than three percent screened positive for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Vietnamese women.
“More than 5,000 women in Vietnam are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually. Prioritizing screening for cervical cancer will save the lives of thousands of these women who die each year due to this preventable disease,” said Dr. Luu Thi Hong, vice head of MCH Department at the Ministry of Health.
Screening for early detection and treatment of pre-cancerous cervical lesions is increasingly vital in Vietnam where rates of cervical cancer in women are steadily rising. Current routine mortality screening programs have failed to impact the cervical cancer rates in Vietnam even though they have been shown to aid in the cervical cancer decline in developed countries.
It is expected that the Vietnamese national standards and guidelines for cervical cancer prevention will be updated due to the success of the new model. These guidelines will highlight how to prevent, detect, and treat cervical pre-cancer, including screening techniques, diagnosis, treatment methods, and organization of screening and treatment based at different levels of the health system, and will be accessible to health care providers at all levels.
“The screening model has been shown to be both feasible and acceptable to providers and women. It could provide the foundation for a sustainable cervical cancer screening program for Vietnam,” said Mona Byrkit, Vietnam country director at PATH.
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