Cervical Cancer Prevention Project

Cervical cancer is the number one cause of female cancer deaths in Rwanda, accounting for 30% of the total number of female cancer deaths. The second most common cause is breast cancer at 11%. There is currently not a cervical cancer screening program in the entire country.

The UJAMAA Maternal/Child program has been asked by Health Development Initiative-Rwanda (HDI) to start a Cervical Cancer Prevention Project. The pilot project is scheduled for May 2011.

The project has been developed to “see and treat”. The model for a one day evaluation, known as “see and treat” has been developed by the Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention, with WHO consultation. Studies have shown that this strategy can be carried out in a single visit, and can be carried out by competent physicians and non-physicians, including nurses and midwives. It can be accomplished by VIA (visual inspection with acetic acid) and cryotherapy.


The initial team with one obstetric/gynecologic (Ob-Gyn) physician and one Ob-Gyn nurse practitioner will plan a 2 day training seminar for Rwandan physicians and the nurse managers of 11 clinics in Bugasera District, Rwanda. This will be followed by visiting several rural clinics in the district, and evaluating and treating cervical cancer precursors. The project plans to evaluate 300 women who will be educated and recruited by Dr. Jean Marie Rukinika and the community health workers in Bugasera District, as a part of the Access Project program.

In addition to “see and treat”, we will bring Pap and HPV test samples and cervical biopsies back to Spokane for evaluation at Deaconess Pathology Department.

GOAL: To demonstrate that the pilot project, “see and treat” can be an effective program for Rwanda, and that local medical professionals can establish an adequate screening program.

FUTURE PLAN: To provide close follow-up with a larger team to continue the teaching and screening throughout the entire district. We will work with HDI to gather data to present to the Ministry of Health, to recommend institution of this program as a national screening method.