Achieving equity in cervical cancer screening in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs): Strengthening health systems using a systems thinking approach

Patti E. Gravitt, Michelle I. Silver, Heather M. Hussey, Silvina Arrossi, Megan Huchko, Jose Jeronimo, Sharon Kapambwe, Somesh Kumar, Graciela Meza, Laura Nervi, Valerie A. Paz-Soldan, Yin Ling Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading a call to action to eliminate cervical cancer by the end of the century through global implementation of two effective evidence-based preventive interventions: HPV vaccination and cervical screening and management (CSM). Models estimate that without intervention, over the next 50 years 12.2 million new cases of cervical cancer will occur, nearly 60% of which are preventable only through CSM. Given that more than 80% of the cervical cancer occurs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), scaling up sustainable CSM programs in these countries is a top priority for achieving the global elimination goals. Multiple technologies have been developed and validated to meet this need. Now it is critical to identify strategies to implement these technologies into complex, adaptive health care delivery systems. As part of the coordinated cervical cancer elimination effort, we applied a systems thinking lens to reflect on our experiences with implementation of HPV-based CSM programs using the WHO health systems framework. While many common health system barriers were identified, the effectiveness of implementation strategies to address them was context dependent; often reflecting differences in stakeholder's belief in the quality of the evidence supporting a CSM algorithm, the appropriateness of the evidence and algorithm to context, and the ‘implementability’ of the algorithm under realistic assessments of resource availability and constraints. A structured planning process, with early and broad stakeholder engagement, will ensure that shared-decisions in CSM implementation are appropriately aligned with the culture, values, and resource realities of the setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106322
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume144
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

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