Our use of the Single Visit Approach combines Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) with Cryotherapy to create an effective screening and treatment tandem. Using simple vinegar, cotton swabs and a good light, VIA is as effective as the Pap smear(1) in detecting pre-cancerous cell changes. Upon a positive result, a woman can be treated with Cryotherapy the same day. The main advantages of the Single Visit Approach are that it requires few resources, uses low-tech equipment, and provides immediate results.
Single Visit Approach
- Developed by Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University
- Simple, safe, effective
- Inexpensive and sustainable
- Combination of VIA screening and Cryotherapy treatment
Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA)
- Uses easily sourced materials: 5% acetic acid (vinegar), cotton swabs and a good light
- No intensive training
- No laboratory
- No follow-up visit
- Results immediately available
- Ideal for limited resource-areas
- Sensitivity as good or better than Pap smear
- Uses nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide gas to freeze potentially pre-cancerous cells
- Quick, simple, cost-effective
- 85% Success rate
- No anesthesia
- Non-specialized: nurses to surgeons can perform treatment
- Only one visit required
- Can treat same day as screening
Focus on Training
Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University and a worldwide leader in public health, developed the Single Visit Approach to VIA and Cryotherapy. Studies have repeatedly shown that providing all services in a single visit is essential to success in combating cervical cancer in low-resource communities. Grounds for Health focuses on training local health care experts in the Single Visit Approach. Through education, rather than direct service, we can potentially reach tens of thousands of women, as opposed to just a few hundred. Grounds of Health empowers local leaders to own responsibility for the health and well-being of their communities.
Grounds for Health screens with VIA only on women between 30-50. When applicable, we also screen women who are HIV positive. This maximizes efficiency and preserves resources for the women at most risk.
No Woman is Left Behind
For women who test positive during VIA but are not eligible for cryotherapy or for those who show signs of full-blown cancer, Grounds for Health collaborates with the ministry of health, coffee cooperatives and the community health promoters to arrange referrals and follow-up care.
From the Blog
Reference: (1) PATH: Preventing cervical cancer (2007)