Training for cervical cancer prevention programs in low-resource settings: focus on visual inspection with acetic acid and cryotherapy

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2005 May:89 Suppl 2:S30-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2005.01.012.


The modern approach to cervical cancer prevention, characterized by use of cytology and multiple visits for diagnosis and treatment, has frequently proven challenging and unworkable in low-resource settings. Because of this, the Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention (ACCP) has made it a priority to investigate and assess alternative approaches, particularly the use of visual screening methods, such as visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and visual inspection with Lugol's iodine (VILI), for precancer and cancer detection and the use of cryotherapy as a precancer treatment method. As a result of ACCP experience in providing training to nurses and doctors in these techniques, it is now widely agreed that training should be competency based, combining both didactic and hands-on approaches, and should be done in a clinical setting that resembles the service-delivery conditions at the program site. This article reviews ACCP experiences and perceptions about the essentials of training in visual inspection and cryotherapy and presents some lessons learned with regard to training in these techniques in low-resource settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid*
  • Cervix Uteri / cytology
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology
  • Cryotherapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Mass Screening
  • Physical Examination*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Teaching*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / prevention & control*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vaginal Smears


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Acetic Acid