Cervical Cancer Screening

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can affect people mostly in their late teens, early 20`s up to the senior ages of 65. In Sierra Leone, young girls are sexually active from early age, due to the lack of proper sexual education, no supervision, peer pressure and poverty.

Also, adult women tend to have more than 1 sexual partner with no easy access or refusal of contraception methods such as condoms. These factors contribute to the rise of HPV among the population.

As SSLDF, we always work toward the well-being of our community, so for the second consecutive year we continue our endeavor in organizing the Cervical Cancer screening event at Magbenteh Community hospital.

A group of female gynaecologists, set camp in the female ward from 27th till the 31st of January 2020 to educate young girls and women on the danger of HPV to their reproductive system and overall health. A general check-up was performed on the 216 patients, coming from surrounding communities, it included breast feel exam, echography for ovaries, uterus and pelvic examination.

Patients with abnormal cervix growth were treated from HPV using LEEP procedure. In addition to a pap smear being sent to Spain for more elaborate result.

 Last July screening revealed a total of 44 positive results of cervical cancer. The patients which are affected were informed. Unfortunately, Sierra Leone does not have the necessary facilities for treating cancer patients for the time being. Patients need to travel to neighboring countries to receive treatment. Cancer of the cervix often has no symptoms in its early stages. If you do have symptoms, the most common is abnormal vaginal bleeding, which can occur during or after sex, in between periods, or new bleeding after you have been through the menopause.

SSLDF and MCH team have once again succeeded in developing sensitization on the importance of women`s healthcare and cancer prevention. In a country where medical services are limited, prevention is key.

We also would like to thank Viva Makeni for their partnership in making this event happen; and special thanks to MD. Silvia González, MD. Cristina Canseco and their team for their effort and care.

The Cervical Cancer project started in July 2017 as a pilot. It complies with WHO guidelines “Screening and treatment of precancerous lesions for Cervical Cancer prevention”, best known as “See and Treat”.

At first, the gynecologists coming to MCH used to screen the patient, if met with any suspected lesions, they will treat/ remove it on spot using any of the approved technics such as cryotherapy or LEEP.

The patient is then discharged directly. As the project advanced, the protocol has changed to screening, samples are sent to the MCH’s Laboratory to process the cytology test; results will be delivered in 12 hours. According to the results, the patient will be advised to be treated on spot or not.

Reaching to this phase was possible by adding a training on cytology, this new knowledge will allow the lab to upgrade the services provided on women`s health care.