New Smartphone App Screens Women for Cervical Cancer in Tanzania

Every year more than 4,000 women die from cervical cancer in Tanzania

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Oncology department of a hospital in Kenya, VOA

November 13, 2016: According to United States Centers for Illness Control, in developing countries, a woman dies every two minutes from cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the leading cause of deaths from cancer among women. This is a tragedy as cervical cancer is preventable as well as treatable.

This situation usually occurs where routine gynecological tests are not commonly available. Every year more than 4,000 women die from cervical cancer in Tanzania, despite the disease being preventable. The Precancerous lesions can be detected in time and removed.

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A new smartphone application known as cervical is created in Tanzania to help the women of Tanzania fight against cervical cancer.

Dr. James Edward said, “When I take the image, I can zoom it and see it in good view instead of going there to the cervix  but when you take the image you can zoom in and see if there is a lesion.”

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For the women living in the foothills of Kilimanjaro, the burden of cervical cancer is all too familiar. A patient Frida Mtale said, “One day my aunt started to see a little liquid like she was menstruating. She went to the doctor. She was told it was cancer. “

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Karen Yeats leads the Kilimanjaro Cervical Cancer Screening Project in Tanzania. The team uses Smartphone to screen women for cervical cancer. Non-physician health workers use their phones to take a photo of the cervix which is then sent to an expert in the country. If cancerous areas are present, the expert transmits back the treatment instructions within minutes. The quick diagnosis is a boon to women in Tanzania.

The project is a government sponsored program, funded as Canada’s Grand Challenges. The project supports bold ideas in Science, business, and technology.

Health workers who aren’t able to make a diagnosis on their own use the app to send the photos to an expert in the country who receives a notification and in just a few minutes the expert helps the worker on the scene make a diagnosis. They have already trained over 100 health providers and screened thousands of women. Dr. Karen Yeats said, “We predict that by the end of the year we will probably be up around 7 to 8 thousand.” Because the Technology is mobile, she says her team will be able to reach even the remote parts of the country.

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The team has already received numerous requests to export the technology to other African countries.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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