Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment Project Reaches More Women in Equatorial Guinea, Achieving 148% of 2022 Goal
Dr. Manuel Ondo Oyono discussing why it is important to get tested for cervical cancer to women and girls at the Akonibe Hospital.
Cervical cancer is preventable and curable if detected early and managed effectively; however, it is the fourth most common form of cancer among women worldwide with the highest burden in sub-Saharan Africa countries.
In order to decrease the prevalence of this disease, MCD Global Health (MCD) has worked throughout Equatorial Guinea since 2016 to reach and provide women with vital screening and treatment services through its Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment (CCST) Project, funded by Noble Energy EG, a Chevron company. This is the only cervical cancer screening program available in Equatorial Guinea.
Many activities of the CCST Project were delayed or canceled due to COVID-19, causing a decrease in the number of women receiving cervical cancer screening and treatment services. In 2022, the project experienced a vast increase in the number of women seen since the beginning of the pandemic, reaching 4,443 women, and surpassing the goal of 3,000 women, in Equatorial Guinea with these vital services.
While most of the women served visited one of the CCST Project’s clinics throughout 2022, a key to success was a national campaign that was held for two weeks in May 2022 that provided outreach and care for women living in districts located in the peri-urban regions of the country where cervical cancer screening services are limited. During this campaign, a total of 1,178 women were screened for cervical cancer, 98% of whom needed and received treatment.
This project uses the single-visit, ‘screen-and-treat’ approach, which is critical in reducing the burden of cervical cancer in low-resource countries. In addition, the CCST Project team conducted outreach, training, and supportive supervision (OTSS) visits with 15 existing staff members at five health facilities.
To support the campaign, the CCST communications team provided training to delegates from Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Gender Equality, composed of women working for the interests of all women. These delegates learned about the risks of cervical cancer, why women should receive regular screening, and other topics in order to be better equipped in outreach efforts during and after the campaign.
“These campaigns, together with the key messages disseminated by mobilizers and media, also help make the population aware of this project, resulting in large numbers of women coming for testing, both in active clinics and the outreach campaigns," said Carolina Amadu Muana, national coordinator for the CCST Project (image at right).
This campaign was successful thanks to the collaboration of MCD staff, including Dr. Manuel Ondo, Amadu, Jose Avelino Rondo, and Victor Mba, as well as Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare representatives and other local authorities.
Next year, pending donor funds, the CCST Project team aims to expand the national campaign, visiting other regions of Equatorial Guinea to increase access to such services for all women.