|RUC2014 Blog 10: The Gynocular increases low and middle-income countries access to cervical cancer screening|
|Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:59|
How can research contribute to accessible cervical cancer screening for low- to middle-income countries? This article, first published by Mbarara University of Science and Technology and produced by Dennis Lukaaya as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme introduces a low-cost, hand-held, battery driven coloscope that enables colposcopy in any setting.
A portable, battery-driven, pocket-sized colposcope, was developed to provide health care personnel with a low cost, hand-held, battery driven coloscope that enables colposcopy in any setting.
The mortality burden of cervical cancer
The majority of women in low-income countries live in rural areas with limited access to referral health facilities. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women and the mortality burden is highest among low and middle-income countries. Only 5% of women in developing countries access organized cancer screening programs as compared to 75% in developed countries.
A pocket-size colposcope
Colposcopes are large, heavy and expensive stationary machines, which are confined to settings with electrical grids. The Gynocular, a portable, battery driven, pocket-sized colposcope, was developed to provide health care personnel with a low cost, hand-held, battery driven colposcope that enables colposcopy in any setting. This will increase access to cancer screening. The present study shows that in VIA-positive women, the assessment of a portable, battery-driven, pocket-sized colposcope using Swede scores shows a significant level of agreement with stationary colposcopy in assessing cervical lesions.
Advantages in industrialized and developing countries alike
Since the pocket-sized colposcope does not require an electric grid it increases access to cervical cancer screening among low- and middle-income countries’ women. In many regional and national health care settings, access to colposcopy is limited to specialized clinics and shared by a number of doctors, which limits their experience with perfoming colposcopy. This may result in a prolonged time-to-diagnosis because patients must wait for appointments, and also additional costs to the patients and healthcare systems because thepatient needs to be brought to a stationary colposcope. It is common that a patient has to wait weeks for a schedule appointment, which leads to increased anxiety. Thus, a low-cost, portable coloscope has many advantages in health-services accessibility, improve time-to-diagnosis, and management of patient anxiety in industrialized and developing countries alike.