Published 10/10/2023

Pink October: the fight against cervical cancer

As every year, the month of October is an opportunity for the world to organize awareness, prevention and screening campaigns for the disease, under the name of "Pink October". ENDA Santé is proud to play an active part in this major global event in the fight against cervical and breast cancers.

In partnership with the health districts of Ziguinchor, Dakar and Thiès, ENDA Santé is organizing a series of screening activities aboard its mobile clinic. An opportunity for our teams and partners to inform women and the general public about the importance of early detection and medical follow-up.

According to the WHO, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. In 2020, the number of new cases was estimated at 604,000, and the number of deaths at 342,000. The vast majority of cervical cancers (over 95%) are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Unfortunately, in low-income countries, access to these preventive measures is limited, and cervical cancer is often not identified until it has reached an advanced stage. In addition, access to treatment for precancerous lesions (cancer surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, for example) may be limited, leading to a higher death rate in these countries.

ENDA Santé, whose mission is to support the most vulnerable people, operates through 2 regional projects: Casamance research-program on HIV-resistance and sexual health (CARES), implemented in Senegal and Guinea Bissau, and Frontières et vulnérabilités au VIH /Sida en Afrique de l'Ouest (FEVE IMPULSE). On board its mobile clinic, prevention activities are regularly organized in Dakar, Mbour and Ziguinchor to reinforce the provision of high-quality cervical cancer screening in hard-to-reach areas and populations.

Our action against cervical cancer

Beyond the campaign, between July 2018 and December 2023, nearly 20,129 women were screened in Dakar, Mbour, Ziguinchor and Bissau. For the same period, 34 LEEPS, 18 cryotherapies and 52 thermo-ablations were managed by ENDA Santé through its CARES project.

To reinforce its action against cervical cancer, the project also supports the local health system by upgrading the technical platform. 5 cryotherapy machines, 4 thermotherapy machines, 3 LEEP units, 1 GenXpert HPV testing machine and 30 headlamps have been donated to Ziguinchor health facilities. The capacity-building component also included training for Ziguinchor healthcare staff in visual inspection of the cervix using VIA/VILI and management of lesions using cryotherapy, cytology and staining techniques and slide reading for cytotechnicians, as well as techniques for taking cervical smears (FCU) by anatomopathologists.