Cancer Association rolls out HPV screening programme
By Confidente Reporter
THE Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) has announced the launch on Thursday of the first national Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) cervical screening programme as part of its continued fight for the prevention of cervical cancer in Namibia.
HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer and is a sexual transmitted viral infection that the body in most cases can rid itself of. With recurring infections, additional infection by HIV, or in cases where the immune system of the woman simply cannot fight the high risk viral strain, HPV may lead to the development of a cancerous lesion in the cervix (mouth of the womb).
Women who are HPV+ and HIV+ are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer, and while annual pap smears help detect cell abnormalities, through DNA-testing the potential patient can be managed and treated more effectively, prior to cancer even developing in most cases.
The general timeline from HPV infection to possible cervical cancer is on average 10 years. Should a patient remain both HPV and HIV negative, the traditional “pap smear” falls away and interval screening of 5-10 years is recommended.
The pilot programme in partnership with ROCHE, Maxi Labs and Biodynamics officially commenced on Monday and will see the complimentary screening of an initial 500 females for the Human Papilloma Virus. In addition to the ROCHE donation, a further 200 test kits were donated by the DKFZ (German Cancer Research Foundation) this week.
HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer and by mobilising HPV-testing in Namibia, CAN and partners are paving the way for preventative molecular testing of cervical cancer.
Molecular diagnostic HPV testing can augment screening for cervical cancer when used in conjunction with the traditional Pap smear, thus allowing for a singular, more comprehensive and thorough investigation.
“The general timeline from HPV infection to possible cervical cancer is 10 years. Thus, quality testing and management of HPV means that we can effectively save more lives, more cost-effectively, with less hassle and invasive procedures for women – all of this while the strain on our national healthcare system is lifted,” CAN’s chief executive officer Rolf Hansen explained.
Current cervical screening by Pap test or HPV testing cost in excess of N$1,200 on average. CAN has also negotiated a market access price for the HPV test kits for the Ministry of Health and Social Services, allowing HPV testing to be rolled out nationwide and made accessible to all.
The access price plan was presented to Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula and the executive director of the MoHSS, Mr Ben Nangombe, CAN and project partners at a function in the capital recently.
“CAN remains committed to support the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the people of Namibia to fight cancer and its consequences to the best of our abilities. With our available resources and by mobilising our networks, we aim to develop smart partnerships that shall hopefully lead to equitable cancer care in our country,” Hansen said.
He further said HPV testing will be rolled out as part of the National Cancer Outreach Programme and interested persons can get regular updates on venues and dates on CAN’s Facebook page to find out when the CAN and MoHSS teams will be in the various regions and towns.
Women aged 35 and over, especially women who are HIV+ are invited to contact Martha Angolo of the Cancer Association of Namibia at 061-237740 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the dates for community clinic dates for HPV-testing.
CAN will continue with HPV testing on a regular basis after the initial roll-out and will communicate the normal pricing structure of the tests in due course. Non-Namibians are welcome to participate at a fee of N$250 per patient.
“We encourage the Namibian community to make use of this access programme and minimal fee structure to screen for HPV and in so doing help fight cervical cancer.”
CAN will host clinics as Phase 1 of the programme.
• N$50 fee payable per patient to help cover the consumables costs. CAN and donor partners pay the rest, in addition to the donated test kits by ROCHE
• Namibian citizen or permanent resident holders should bring Namibian ID or Birth certificate.
• Target group is mainly women aged 35 and older.
• HIV+ women aged 20 and older are welcomed.
• Bring your own night gown or wrap to change for the testing.
• Initially, only the first 100 women at each clinic will be screened.
Windhoek – CAN Head Office 90 John Meinert Street in Windhoek West
Thursday, 12 September 2019
Thursday, 19 September 2019
Contact Martha at 061 237740
Rehoboth – CAN Hardap Centre (Rhenish Mission Centre) in Rehoboth CBD
Wednesday, 18 September 2019.
at 081 140 2709
Walvis Bay – MoHSS Primary Health Care Centre (VIA/Cryo Clinic) in Kuisebmond
Tuesday, 24 September 2019.
Contact Celeste at 064 461271
Swakopmund – CAN Erongo Centre at 3C Ferdinand Stich Street in Swakopmund CBD
Wednesday, 25 September 2019.
Contact Celeste at 064 461271