Women Health Program
Women’s Health Programme (WHP) was started in the CBC Health Services in 2007 in collaboration with the centre for Infectious Disease Research of Zambia (CIDRZ). At the time, CIDRZ in collaboration with University of Alabama at Birmingham was pioneering an innovative method of cervical cancer screening using a hand-held camera with a macro-conversion lens to take real-time highly magnified images of the cervix known as digital cervicography. The method is an adjunct to Visual Inspection with Acetic acid (VIA) and Lugol’s iodine (VILI).
Staff of CBC Health Services received training in a “see and treat” Cervical Cancer Prevention by consultants of CIDRZ; Prof. Groesbeck Parham and Dr. Mulindi Mwanhamuntu both in Cameroon and on site at the University Teaching Hospital of Zambia.
Cameroon through the CBC Health Services is the second country after Zambia to implement this new, innovative, cheap cutting-edge technique for cervical cancer screening. The CBC Health Services Women’s Health Programme is therefore a replication of the Zambia Cervical Health “see and treat” model.
In the “see and treat approach”, Women’s Health Program uses same day cryotherapy and cold coagulation to treat low grade precancerous lesions. Meanwhile, high grade lesions are treated with Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) on appointments. Biopsy is performed on lesions that are suspicious for cancer or difficult to diagnose.
The brain behind the Women’s Health Program has been Drs. Thomas and Edith Welty, both Associate Directors of the CBC Health Services AIDS Care and Prevention Programme.
In order to run an integrated “one-stop-shop” program for women, Women’s Health Programme has developed a four prong design as follows:
- Cervical Cancer Prevention
- Breast Cancer Prevention
- Syndromic Management of Reproductive tract Infections
- Family Planning
Programme Goal/ Objectives
Provide comprehensive women-centered sexual and reproductive health care through an interdisciplinary approach in screening, health education and policy development in Cameroon.
- To improve access to the full range of affordable, equitable and high-quality family planning and reproductive health services to increase contraceptive use and reduce unplanned pregnancies, abortions, reproductive tract infections including HIV and AIDS.
- To develop and implement a ‘see and treat’ cervical and breast cancer prevention programme in Cameroon.
- To improve the coverage of underserved rural communities through mobile clinics that sensitize, educate and provide services on cervical and breast cancers prevention, RTI prevention and family planning.
- To foster the documentation and dissemination of the programme’s best practices on Women’s Health for advocacy, policy and programme development, monitoring and evaluation.
Impact of the programme/outstanding achievements
- CREATING AWARENESS
WHP has created much awareness on cervical cancer and Human Papillomavirus especially in the areas where its clinics are located. This has been through continuous sensitization in the different health facilities and mobile clinics in communities. Some women do rush in for screening in order to know their status as far as cervical cancer is concerned because they do not want to be caught up in a dilemma.
- SAVING LIFE
Through WHP stationary clinics and mobile clinics, more than 46,000 women have been screened for cervical pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions.
Women found with precancerous lesions are offered cryotherapy, cold coagulation or LEEPs to destroy or remove the precancerous lesions so that they do not progress to full blown cancers. Those diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer are referred for radical surgery, radiotherapy and/or palliative care. With these interventions, it is evident that the program has the potentials to saving women from this disease that has become a threat to women’s life. WHP conducted the first HPV vaccination campaign in Cameroon with donated Gardasil from Axios Healthcare Development. The programme vaccinated young girls between the ages 9 and 13 between 2010 and 2012. An 85% coverage rate was achieved with 3 doses of the vaccine.
HPV Vaccination Project
In 2009, WHP received a donation of 19,200 doses of Gardasil to vaccinate 6,400 girls age 9-13 years with 3 doses each from the Gardasil Access Programme. Gardasil is a Human Papillomavirus Quandrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16 and 18) vaccine, Recombinant. The Gardasil Access Programme was made possible by a pledge from Merck and co. Inc. and was overseen by the Axios Healthcare Development. The Programme ran from March 2010 to November 2012 and has been the first ever HPV vaccination campaign in Cameroon.
The Project ran in 2 phases and the first phase was launched in March 2010 in Bamenda by the Executive Secretary for the National Committee for the fight against Cancer, Prof Doh Anderson Sama. The second phase was launched in February 2011 at the Gynaeco-Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital Yaounde by the Honorable Minister of Public Health, H.E Andre Mama Fouda.
National and International Partnerships
The WHP has developed several national and international partnerships that will move us forward in our efforts to improve the health of Cameroonian women.
- Ministry of Public Health
- National Committee for the Fight Against Cancer
- Gyneco-Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital, Yaounde (HGOPY)
- Centers for Infectious Disease Research Zambia (CIDRZ
- Cameroon Health and Education Fund (CHEF
- United Nations Population Fund (UNPF
- Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF
- University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), USA
Operational Units/ Contacts
WHP operates in seven sites located in four of the ten regions of Cameroon. Mobile clinic sites run across the country depending on funding and service demand.
North West Region
Banso Baptist Hospital:
(+237) 674 90 60 15
Mbingo Baptist Hospital:
(+237) 677 84 18 34
Nkwen Baptist Health Centre:
South West Region
Kumba Baptist Health Centre
Mboppi Baptist Hospital Douala: