Elimination of Cervical Cancer as a Public Health Problem in Sri Lanka

UAB Project Team Members: Isabel C. Scarinci, Ph.D., MPH – Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Allison McGuire, MPH – Program Director, University of Alabama at Birmingham

USA Rotary Team Members: Susan Jackson – Executive Director, Rotary Club of Birmingham; Edward Partridge, M.D. – Rotary Club of Birmingham; Fred McCallum – President, Rotary Club of Birmingham; Jim Griffo – Rotary Club of Birmingham – Architectural Design, Mobile Units

Sri Lanka – Rotary Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka Ministry of Health, Nirmali Samaratunga, Pubudu De Zoysa,Senake Amerasinghe

Location: Sri Lanka

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, and second among women in Sri Lanka. The disease is preventable through age-appropriate Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccination and screening, yet unnecessary deaths continue to occur. Prevention tools and strategies are in place to eliminate the disease, however adopting the practices still poses a major health problem.

The Rotary Clubs of Birmingham and Colombo have a long-standing partnership and together, have worked to establish the first regional cancer prevention and early detection center in Sri Lanka. Given that these clubs are already tackling cancer prevention, this presents an opportunity to potentially integrate low-cost cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment activities into existing healthcare programs from an evidence-based perspective.

The ultimate goal is to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem in Sri Lanka. This will be achieved by vaccinating girls against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) at age 10 through a two-dose regimen, and screening women for cervical cancer at ages 35 and 45 with HPV DNA Testing. The aims of this project include: (1) Increase cervical cancer screening at ages 35 and 45 from 30-40% to 95%; (2) Increase adherence to follow up of abnormal Pap test/HPV testing – from colposcopy to resolution; (3) Increase physicians’ skills and confidence in performing colposcopies and follow-up to abnormal Pap test/HPV results through Vocational Training; (4) Increase knowledge, skills, and confidence among midwives to promote cervical cancer screening and adherence to follow-up (if needed) among women 35 to 45 through Vocational Training; (5) Maintain and support current national HPV vaccination program for girls 10 years of age.