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Cervical Cancer Screening in Odisha using an Innovative Approach

Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) account for 71% of total deaths and are emerging as major public health concern across the globe. Cervical cancer is the 2nd most common form of cancer in women with an estimated 122,844 new cases and 67,477 deaths annually in India[1]. India accounts for nearly one-third of the global cervical cancer deaths, with women facing a 1.6% cumulative risk of developing cervical cancer and 1.0% cumulative death risk from cervical cancer.[2] Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers today. 

Evidence from the developed countries and around the world shows that screening to early detection and treatment reduces mortality from cancer. In most cases cervical cancer can be prevented through early detection.

To screen cervical cancer at the community level, the NHM and Department of H&FW decided to pilot a project on “home based screening of cervical cancer using HPV kits” using NHM’s innovation fund. The pilot is being implemented in two urban areas of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar in the state.

In this context Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) as a valued partner supported the state government in organizing an orientation meeting under the Chairmanship Additional Director, Urban Public Health (Ad-UPH) at Thoria Sahi, UPHC, Cuttack on 09.11.21. This meeting was headed by medical officer of Thoria Sahi and attended by Dr Roma Ratan, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Sriram Chandra Bhanj (SCB) Medical College, Cuttack, and frontline workers like ASHAs, ANMs along with NIPI representatives.

NIPI briefed the chair and participants on the pilot design and its various components, such as details of ‘screen and treat’ approach, sample collection and testing process, roles and responsibilities of various health functionaries at all levels. Dr Roma Ratan highlighted that early identification of cervical cancer can lead to successful treatment and explained procedures of collection of sample by the beneficiaries though an animated and customised video presentation. She also emphasised that enough care must be taken regarding collection of a sample, its storage and transportation.

Subsequent to the above orientation meeting, another meeting was convened with the community influencers and mobilisers drawn from other departments and agencies. ASHAs, ANMs, AWWs, PRI, Civil society members and MAS members attended this meeting. They were oriented on the process of self-collection of samples by Dr Bhagyalaxmi, Sr Oncologist, AHPGIC, Cuttack. Approximately 65 community workers and volunteers participated in this orientation meeting and pledged to take this campaign to masses.

The pilot project is implemented in collaboration and with technical support of AHPGIC (Acharya Harihar Post Graduate Institute of Cancer) and Department of Biochemistry, SCB MCH, Cuttack. NIPI is providing techno-managerial support to NHM in implementation of this pilot project.



[1]Bruni L, Barrionuevo-Rosas L, Albero G, Serrano B, Mena M, Gómez D, Muñoz J, Bosch FX, de Sanjosé S. ICO Information Centre on HPV and Cancer (HPV Information Centre). Human Papillomavirus and Related Diseases in India. Summary Report. 27 July 2017.

[2]World health Organization (WHO). International Agency for Research on Cancer. India factsheet. Lyon: IARC; 2018. https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/populations/356-india-fact-sheets.pdf.