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“Our goal must be a world in which good health is a pillar of individual well-being, national progress, and international stability and peace. This cannot be achieved without partnerships involving governments, international organizations, the business community, and civil society.”

— Kofi A. Annan, ex-Secretary-General of the United Nations

PAHEF at Work 


PAHEF Supports Congressional Briefing on New Cervical Cancer Screening Method 

On June 19th, the Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Christine Beato, welcomed members of the US Congress, their staff, PAHO staff, and other guests to the Congressional Briefing entitled “Preventing Cervical Cancer: Screening and Treatment” on Capitol Hill. The briefing informed the guests about the new PAHO Regional Strategy and Plan of Action on Cervical Cancer Prevention that “will emphasize the importance of revitalizing screening programs, in light of the availability of HPV vaccines, and will encourage the use of simpler, evidence-based approaches for screening,” said Dr. Beato.

Four members of the US Congress from both political parties attended to proclaim their support for cervical cancer prevention programs, particularly the new “Screen and Treat” method for cervical cancer.  The Honorable Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), Hon. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Hon. Lois Capps (D-CA), and Hon. Susan Davis (D-CA) congratulated PAHO for its work in cervical cancer prevention. The Hon. Reyes echoed his colleagues when he said that cervical cancer “is a fight worth fighting."

PAHO experts reported that the “Screen and Treat” method has proven in studies to be simpler and more cost-effective than the traditional Pap smear in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. This method uses Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) to detect abnormal cervical cells and then provides immediate treatment with extreme cold that destroys diseased precancerous cells. In studies in Peru conducted by PAHO, 10% of women screened with the VIA method did not get follow-up while 75% of those screened with the Pap smear in an earlier screening program did not get follow-up. This new method will be a key element in the PAHO Regional Strategy and Plan of Action on Cervical Cancer Prevention , which will be presented to the ministers of health of the Americas at the Pan American Sanitary Bureau Conference in Washington in early October.

The Pan American Health and Education Foundation was recognized for its grants to PAHO for its work in cervical cancer prevention, with the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

PAHO Director, Dr. Mirta Roses, summed up what is needed to prevent cervical cancer—early screening, early detection. Further, she outlined some important steps to achieve a sustainable reduction in cervical cancer, “We need to bring women into health facilities by having gender-friendly services, by helping them to overcome obstacles in their families and communities, and by not having too many steps in the treatment process. As it is, we too often get women when it is too late, too costly, too painful.”

Christine Baze, who founded the advocacy group Popsmear, related her personal story as a cervical cancer survivor. “Like all cancer survivors, I know that the battle continues. It’s never over,” she said. Her recorded songs about cervical cancer can be heard on PAHEF's website. W e encourage you to listen to them, and . 

Death from cervical cancer is 7 times higher in Latin America and the Caribbean than it is in the United States. Won’t you consider sending a generous gift to help prevent cervical cancer and improve women’s health?

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