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Community Involvement to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Children in a classroom.

There are many ways to involve communities to make cervical cancer screening programs more effective.

Involving women and communities in developing, implementing, and evaluating cervical cancer prevention interventions is integral to a prevention effort's success. On this page you will find resources offering a range of information on strategies to involve community stakeholders, for instance:

Highlighted ACCP Community Mobilization Materials

Women’s Frequently Asked Questions About Cervical Cancer Screening
A presentation to help health care providers anticipate and answer women’s questions. Portable Document Format (pdf) | Microsoft PowerPoint Format (ppt)

Developing Cervical Cancer Screening Programs That Meet Women’s Needs
A presentation to help program planners and communities address women’s needs. Portable Document Format (pdf) | Microsoft PowerPoint Format (ppt)

Key Steps for Meeting Women’s Needs
A fact sheet outlining women’s needs and ways to address them.

More publications are coming soon!

The Alliance consists of five partner organizations, brought together by their capabilities and experience in global cervical cancer prevention.


EngenderHealth is one of the largest nonprofit organizations dedicated to making reproductive health care accessible to women and men around the world. Headquartered in New York City, EngenderHealth works globally to improve the lives of individuals by making reproductive health services safe, available, and sustainable.

Improving cervical cancer screening and treatment

Since 1995 EngenderHealth, together with Columbia University and the University of Cape Town, has coordinated a major research effort in South Africa aimed at establishing the feasibility and effectiveness of various cervical cancer screening approaches. In this study, four screening methods are being compared to evaluate their potential for use in low-resource settings. As a part of the Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention, EngenderHealth is further studying the safety and efficacy of two of the methods — visual inspection and human papilloma virus (HPV) testing — and the project is being expanded to assess a broad range of service delivery questions related to cervical cancer prevention services. Within the Alliance, EngenderHealth plays a key role both in clarifying the safety and effectiveness of screening and treatment technologies, and in developing appropriate, sustainable service delivery approaches.

For more information on EngenderHealth's work in cervical cancer prevention, see the EngenderHealth website ( or contact Mark Barone, D.V.M., M.S., at [email protected].

International Agency for Research on Cancer

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is an affiliated research center of the World Health Organization. IARC's mission is to coordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer and the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and to develop scientific strategies for cancer control.

Cervical cancer epidemiology and prevention

IARC has been active in a number of studies assessing the role of HPV in cervical cancer. In the 1990s, IARC coordinated several key studies of cervical cancer prevention approaches, including visual inspection, in developing countries such as India and Costa Rica. Within the Alliance, IARC provides a valuable resource for cervical cancer epidemiological data, and is playing a key role in clarifying the safety and effectiveness of visual inspection for screening/treatment decisions in India (where a quarter of all cervical cancer deaths occur).

a. For more information on IARC's work in cervical cancer prevention, see the IARC website ( or contact R. Sankaranarayanan, M.D., at [email protected].


JHPIEGO is a nonprofit corporation working to improve the health of women and families throughout the world. Through advocacy, education, and performance improvement, JHPIEGO helps host-country health policymakers, educators, and service providers increase access and reduce barriers to quality reproductive health services.

Alternative approaches to cervical cancer screening

Since 1989, JHPIEGO has been exploring the feasibility of several low-cost alternatives for cervical cancer prevention, with particular emphasis on visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and cryrotherapy. JHPIEGO is committed to carrying out SAFE (safety, acceptability, feasibility, and program effort) demonstration projects involving the single-visit approach that can be applied to the poorest, most under-served regions in the developing world.

Within the Alliance, JHPIEGO's projects play a key role in clarifying issues important to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the single visit approach. Currently, it is implementing two large SAFE demonstration projects in Thailand and Ghana. Given its extensive experience in developing and implementing appropriate reproductive health training programs worldwide, JHPIEGO also plays an important role in developing and standardizing training approaches for cervical cancer prevention services.

For more information on JHPIEGO's work in cervical cancer prevention, see JHPIEGO's website ( or contact Paul Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.H. at [email protected].

Pan American Health Organization

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health agency with more than 90 years of experience in working to improve health and living standards of the countries of the Americas. It serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization, and enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system.

Since 1995 PAHO has identified cervical cancer as one of its priority areas of disease prevention and control in the Americas. PAHO's emphasis has been on improving the quality of cytology services in several countries, encouraging the participation of women in cervical cancer screening programs, and developing and implementing guidelines for cervical cancer management.

Within the Alliance, PAHO's extensive network of government and other contacts in the region helps ensure that Alliance projects proceed in concert with local needs and expectations. PAHO also plays a key role in advocating for effective cervical cancer prevention approaches throughout the region. They have sponsored regional meetings on cervical cancer and are working in Peru, El Salvador, and other Latin American countries to evaluate the safety and cost-effectiveness of cervical cancer screening and treatment approaches.

For more information on PAHO's work, see the PAHO website ( or contact Sylvia Robles, M.D., MSc, at [email protected]. The World Health Organization website address is

PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health)

PATH is an international, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving health, especially the health of women and children. As coordinating agency of the Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention, PATH works closely with a steering committee of Alliance members to encourage intra-Alliance communication and collaboration and to coordinate information dissemination.

Assessing innovative approaches to cervical screening and treatment

PATH is widely recognized for its experience in development, assessment, and introduction of new technologies. As an Alliance member, PATH is investigating alternative screening methods that may serve as an adjunct to or replacement for Pap smears in areas where resources are limited. Methods under investigation include the AviScope™ screening device for visual inspection of the cervix using low-powered magnification.

Improving service delivery systems

In an effort to evaluate various service delivery approaches, PATH is developing assessment tools that will help health program managers to decide whether and how to integrate cervical cancer prevention into existing women's health services.

Incorporating community perspectives and needs into program design

Working with local partners in Kenya and Peru, PATH is researching what women and health care providers know, believe, and do as the starting point for designing more effective cervical cancer programs. Using surveys, focus group discussions, interviews, and other techniques, PATH is working with its local counterparts to ensure that programs reflect community perspectives and needs.

Heightening awareness of cervical cancer and effective prevention strategies

In order to advocate for adequate funding, favorable policies, and popular support for new programs and approaches, PATH contributes to global and regional conferences on cervical cancer and produces publications and resources on issues affecting cervical cancer in developing countries.

For more information on PATH's work in cervical cancer, see PATH's website ( or contact Jacqueline Sherris, Ph.D., at [email protected].


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