Findings and lessons learned from a multi-partner collaboration to increase cervical cancer prevention efforts in Bolivia

Rural Remote Health. 2013 Oct-Dec;13(4):2595. Epub 2013 Nov 19.


Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among women in Bolivia, where cytology based screening has not performed well due to health-systems constraints. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pan American Health Organization partnered with the Bolivian Ministry of Health and the Peruvian Cancer Institute (INEN) to build capacity in Bolivia for the use of visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (VIA) and cryotherapy. Four 5-day courses on basic clinical skills to perform these procedures, provide related counseling, and manage side effects and infections were conducted from September 2010 to December 2012 for 61 Bolivian nurses and physicians. Of these courses, two were conducted by Bolivian trainers that were certified through a Training-of-Trainers course taught by the INEN. Classroom didactic sessions included lectures and practice with anatomic models followed by clinical practice sessions to provide trainees with practical experience in VIA and cryotherapy. Pre- and post-training evaluations were administered to ascertain knowledge gained. Evaluation of competency was conducted during simulation exercises in the classroom and during supervised performances of procedures in clinical settings. This report summarizes findings and lessons learned that will be useful for planning the supervision and monitoring phase of this project as well as for future partnerships in the Latin American and the Caribbean region.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid*
  • Bolivia
  • Capacity Building
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology
  • Community Health Workers / education
  • Community Health Workers / standards
  • Competency-Based Education*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Cryotherapy
  • Curriculum / standards
  • Early Detection of Cancer / standards
  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing*
  • Female
  • Gynecological Examination
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Patient Simulation
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*


  • Acetic Acid