THE WOMEN’S CANCER SCREENING PROGRAM
The Women’s Cancer Screening Program (WCSP) is a continuous holistic humanitarian assistance program established by AKKHT with technical assistance from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) of Harvard Medical School and Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders (BIRDEM), and implemented by physicians working together with poor women of the target community.
The program provides a comprehensive women’s screening program for breast, cervical and oral cancer that includes education, early detection, treatment, and awareness to women in the largest slum in Dhaka.
The objectives of the WCSP are to:
- Provide cervical cancer screening and treatment (of pre invasive disease) to underprivileged women in a local clinic in the slum community.
- Strengthen the medical compliance of women in resource-poor settings, following a model of “screen and treat in one visit” in the clinic rather than “screen and refer”.
- Empower local participants (female trainees) with education and training to render them capable of promoting health care services in their own community.
- Improve the prevention efforts of cervical cancer via the use of the HPV vaccine.
Since its launch, the WCSP has reached over 2000 women out of 78,000 target women between ages 18 to 49. To date, more than a dozen women have received medical intervention. Through our initiative of cervical cancer screening, early detection, awareness and treatment programme started in 2010, more than 30,000 women will be screened in the coming years and we pledge to expand and replicate our programme on a large scale throughout the country over the next five years.
Key features of the WCSP
- Our programme is a preventative strategy for women in underserved settings in Bangladesh.
- We are reaching out to girls and women, door to door in Korail slum of Dhaka city, who will likely benefit from cervical cancer screening and prevention efforts.
- The healthcare delivery apparatus (care providers and medical equipment) is in a clinic set up in the slums by AKKHT. This designated place in the slum is being used as a Health Care Service site, where the medical evaluation including a pelvic examination, the screening with VIA (visual inspection with acetic acid) followed by therapeutic approaches with colposcopy (treatment for pre-invasive disease), are being performed in “one visit” based on a model of “screen and treat” (instead of “screen and refer”).
- Patients with invasive cancer will be referred to a tertiary medical centre.