22 Nov 2018
The theme of this workshop was the exploration of Pacific regional approach to cervical cancer control. Regional networks enable common learnings from each other, may provide economies of scale, allow for shared knowledge, training and expertise and may enable collaborative funding opportunities.
The benefits of HPV testing were discussed and a comparison was made between point-of-care (POC) testing and centralised testing. Benefits of POC were increased accessibility to testing for women, and faster turn around time for test results. POC tests are however more costly. Central testing, while cheaper, requires transport of samples and some level of laboratory infrastructure. The opportunity that POC offers to Pacific nations is the accessibility of the technology to countries and to women in the communities, particularly when combined with self-collection of the sample by the women themselves.
Regionally, a shortfall of Obstetrics and Gynaecology specialists was identified, and steps to strengthen workforce capacity were identified. In particular increasing the capacity for post-graduate training in Pacific Universities, combined with overseas training on clinical attachments was proposed.
The benefits of population health platforms (a cervical cancer screening registry) to support cervical screening were described. E-health and mobile technology solutions such as ROSE (Removing Obstacles to Cervical Screening) enable women to receive results via there mobile device and to schedule their own follow up appointment. The described vision for regional population health approach includes a shared, cloud-based solution with each country owning its own data. Building local capacity in health information management is key to a successful solution.
Updates on the current state of cervical cancer control and a community-based intervention (the PEN) in Samoa were presented.
Research to inform cervical screening strategies for Maori women that is underway in New Zealand was described to address the question 'Does the offer of HPV self-testing to under-screened Maori women increase cervical screening coverage?'
Please contact us if you are interested in progressing any of the initiatives described here in your Pacific nation.
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