September 29, 2022
Cervical cancer, one of the most preventable types of cancer, kills 300,000 women each year, with more than 90 percent of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted infection. Women who are infected with both HPV and HIV are at particular risk of progression to cancer. HPV vaccination and programs to screen and treat women for pre-cancerous lesions offer the opportunity to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem. However, most low- and middle-income countries are only now beginning to introduce the HPV vaccine, leaving older generations of women unprotected. Access to effective screening and treatment has been constrained by the package of tools currently in use in these countries: most programs rely on visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), the accuracy of which is highly variable; cryotherapy to treat pre-cancerous lesions is cumbersome, expensive, and logistically difficult to maintain; and HPV testing is expensive and only available at a limited number of sites.
CHAI, with support from Unitaid, is working to scale up safe, effective, and affordable cervical cancer screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions across our partner countries. We are working to reach more women by leveraging existing platforms to offer tools that are available but not widely used: HPV testing for screening and portable thermal ablation devices to treat pre-cancerous lesions. We are using CHAI’s market-shaping experience to bring promising new products and technologies to market to ensure the sustainable, affordable, and timely supply of screening and treatment tools as well as HPV tests. At the same time, we are testing integrated models to reach women living with HIV through existing health services, such as treatment clinics; reaching women in the general population through family planning services; and offering HPV testing on multiplex diagnostic platforms that are being underutilized for other testing. Please see here for details on the access prices for thermal ablation devices.
Cancer Access Partnership expands in 2021 to increase access to treatment for 30 cancers in Africa and Asia