Scaling up proven innovative cervical cancer screening strategies: Challenges and opportunities in implementation at the population level in low- and lower-middle-income countries

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2017 Jul:138 Suppl 1:63-68. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.12185.


The problem of cervical cancer in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LLMICs) is both urgent and important, and calls for governments to move beyond pilot testing to population-based screening approaches as quickly as possible. Experiences from Zambia, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, where scale-up of evidence-based screening strategies is taking place, may help other countries plan for large-scale implementation. These countries selected screening modalities recommended by the WHO that are within budgetary constraints, improve access for women, and reduce health system bottlenecks. In addition, some common elements such as political will and government investment have facilitated action in these diverse settings. There are several challenges for continued scale-up in these countries, including maintaining trained personnel, overcoming limited follow-up and treatment capacity, and implementing quality assurance measures. Countries considering scale-up should assess their readiness and conduct careful planning, taking into consideration potential obstacles. International organizations can catalyze action by helping governments overcome initial barriers to scale-up.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; HPV test; Low- and lower-middle income countries; Scale-up; Screening; Visual inspection with acetic acid.

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Health Plan Implementation*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Precancerous Conditions / prevention & control
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / prevention & control*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Women's Health