PHASE’s Nepalese health staff received training for the screening of cervical cancer in February 2015.
– Dr. David Nunns, a PHASE Trustee and Chair of the PHASE Colposcopy Group.
“Cervical cancer is a major cause of female death in Nepal. Global death rates from the disease will soon exceed that of maternal mortality. Although deadly, cervical cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Treatment of precancerous disease can be treated simply and this saves lives – PHASE are supporting government organisations, Nepali doctors and local NGOs in Nepal to provide screening camps and simple treatment solutions so that women don’t die unnecessarily.”
The National Health Training Centre and the Nepal Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (NNCTR) worked with PHASE Worldwide to run a government accredited training course over six days in February 2015.
The training enabled 18 doctors and nurses to become competent in cervical screening and treatment techniques. Many of the health workers who attended were not able to screen for cervical cancer beforehand. Now, more women can be successfully screened across medical centres in Nepal by trained staff. Aspects of the skills and knowledge acquired can also be passed onto patients, and lead to the prevention of more instances of cervical cancer.
The training was provided through interactive sessions which aimed to strengthen understanding and expertise. A clinical practical session enabled the doctors and nurses to recognise positive cases firsthand, whilst putting screening tests (visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid – VIA) and pre/post procedure counselling into practice. In addition, the health workers were taught to treat precancerous cells using a technique called cryotherapy.
The training programme was well received by the medical staff who attended and many were interested in future courses.
The main outcomes of the course included:
Task Shifting Many attending the training were nurses and they are now able to carry out the required treatments, in addition to doctors. This will increase the screening and treatment capacity for cervical cancer in Nepal.
Sustainability for the NNCTR For the first time, the NNCTR training was recognised by the National Health Training Centre – this development put this PHASE partner organisation in a position to offer more accredited courses, which will continue to improve the capabilities of Nepalese doctors and nurses.
Clinical Effectiveness In November 2014, a thermocoagulator was taken to Nepal through PHASE Worldwide funding. This has already been used to treat 42 patients at risk of cervical cancer without complication. The thermocoagulator was demonstrated and used on the course, again increasing the ability of the medical staff attending.
David Nunn’s account of taking the thermocoagulator to Nepal and how it is beneficial to the remote communities PHASE supports.
Five months following this course PHASE Worldwide carried out an evaluation and asked if all 18 participants felt confident to carry out cervical screening using VIA and cryotherapy treatments. Across the group, eight doctors and nurses were now carrying out the procedures and 10 were better able to refer women to places that were able to offer treatments.
We would like to congratulate the team on running an excellent course which embodies the ethos of PHASE – sustainability and empowerment through health education and disease prevention.